The glycoprotein E19, encoded in early region 3 of adenovirus-2, forms complexes with major histocompatibility complex class I antigens. As a result of the complex formation, the intracellular transport of the class I antigens is abrogated, and adenovirus-infected cells display gradually diminishing quantities of cell surface-expressed class I molecules. To assess whether the E19 protein interacts equally well with different class I antigens, the associations between the viral protein and HLA-A2 and HLA-B7 antigens have been estimated. By infecting transfected HeLa cells expressing various amounts of HLA-A2 and HLA-B7 molecules, respectively, with various infectious doses of adenovirus-2, experimental conditions could be established that allowed quantitative estimates of the interactions to be determined. It was found that HLA-A2 molecules and the E19 protein interacts with a binding constant that is more than twice as high as that for HLA-B7 antigens and the viral protein. It is suggested that the pathogenicity of the virus may be dependent on the HLA-type of the infected individual.