• antigen presentation;
  • endocytosis;
  • endoplasmic reticulum;
  • membrane traffic;
  • molecular chaperones;
  • peptide loading complex;
  • ubiquitylation

The presentation of antigenic peptides by class I molecules of the major histocompatibility complex begins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) where the co-ordinated action of molecular chaperones, folding enzymes and class I-specific factors ensures that class I molecules are loaded with high-affinity peptide ligands that will survive prolonged display at the cell surface. Once assembled, class I molecules are released from the quality-control machinery of the ER for export to the plasma membrane where they undergo dynamic endocytic cycling and turnover. We review recent progress in our understanding of class I assembly, anterograde transport and endocytosis and highlight some of the events targeted by viruses as a means to evade detection by cytotoxic T cells and natural killer cells.