Inhibition of cell-surface expression of major histocompatibility complex class I molecules by human cytomegalovirus (HCMV, a β-herpesvirus) promotes escape from recognition by CD8+ cytotoxic T cells. The HCMV US2 and US11 gene products induce class I downregulation during the early phase of HCMV infection by facilitating the degradation of class I heavy chains. The HCMV proteins promote the transport of the class I heavy chains across the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane into the cytosol by a process referred to as 'dislocation', which is then followed by proteasome degradation. This process has striking similarities to the degradation of misfolded ER proteins mediated by ER quality control. Even though the major steps of the dislocation reaction have been characterized, the cellular proteins, specifically the ER chaperon,es involved in targeting class I for dislocation, have not been fully delineated. To elucidate the chaperones involved in HCMV-mediated class I dislocation, we utilized a chimeric class I heavy chain with an affinity tag at its carboxy terminus. Interestingly, US2 but not US11 continued to target the class I chimera for destruction, suggesting a structural limitation for US11-mediated degradation. Association studies in US2 cells and in cells that express a US2 mutant, US2-1186HA, revealed that class I specifically interacts with calnexin, BiP and calreticulin. These findings demonstrate that US2-mediated class I destruction utilizes specific chaperones to facilitate class I dislocation. The data suggest a more general model in which the chaperones that mediate protein folding may also function during ER quality control to eliminate aberrant ER proteins.