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Summary:  Assembly of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules in the endoplasmic reticulum is a highly coordinated process that results in abundant class I/peptide complexes at the cell surface for recognition by CD8+ T cells and natural killer cells. During the assembly process, a number of chaperones and accessory molecules, such as transporter associated with antigen processing, tapasin, ER60, and calreticulin, assist newly synthesized class I molecules to facilitate loading of antigenic peptides and to optimize the repertoire of surface class I/peptide complexes. This review focuses on the relative importance of these accessory molecules for CD8+ T-cell responses in vivo and discusses reasons that may help explain why some CD8+ T-cell responses develop normally in mice deficient in components of class I assembly, despite impaired antigen presentation.