The serological reactivities of HLA class I molecules were studied in relation to structural modifications of these molecules, including shuffling of external exons and exchange of human beta 2-microglobulin for beta 2-microglobulin from different species. Two major clusters (I and II) of monomorphic and polymorphic antigenic determinants could be delineated. beta 2-Microglobulin participates in the formation of the two clusters, indicating that the light chain interacts tightly with the two external domains of the HLA class I heavy chain. However, external molecules can modify these interactions and alter the antigenic structure of the overall molecule. Thus, fixation on HLA class I molecules of the Fab fragment of a monoclonal antibody directed at antigenic determinants associated with cluster II resulted in enhanced fixation of a monoclonal antibody (B10.6) related to cluster I. The structural and functional implications of these results are discussed.