The results presented here indicate that recombinant murine interferon-gamma can cause a dramatic differential induction of two distinct class I MHC molecules. Thus, IFN-gamma treatment of the murine leukemia virus (MuLV)-induced AKR SL3 tumor, a cell line that normally expresses moderate levels of class I MHC antigens, resulted in a large increase in H-2Dk expression, but no change or a slight decrease in H-2Kk expression as measured by cytofluorography. Explanations of the selective enhancement of Dk expression based on increased Fc receptor display or differential kinetics of induction were ruled out. The phenomenon was observed over a wide range of doses of IFN-gamma and with two different monoclonal antibodies to Kk, the latter finding making it unlikely that an altered form of the Kk molecule was induced. The same differential induction of the Dk antigen was observed for the LBRM.5A4 tumor cell line. Because LBRM.5A4 is also MuLV+ but of congenic B10.BR (H-2k) origin, these results were consistent with the possibility that such differential induction was associated with the H-2k haplotype and/or MuLV. The implications of these results, as a possible mechanism of tumor cell escape from an immune surveillance system monitored by class I MHC-restricted T cells and as a useful model system to dissect the mechanism of IFN-gamma induction of class I MHC antigens, are discussed.