The cell surface glycoprotein CD8 functions as a coreceptor with the TCR on cytotoxic T lymphocytes. Mutational analysis of the binding site of CD8 for MHC class I predicted that distinct surfaces of CD8 would interact with both the alpha 2 and alpha 3 domains of class I. Using a cell-cell adhesion assay, we identified three residues Q115, D122, and E128 in the alpha 2 domain of class I critical for interaction with CD8. The side chains of these residues point towards a cavity formed by the alpha 1/alpha 2 platform, the alpha 3 domain and beta 2-microglobulin (beta 2m) of class I. These residues were predicted to contact CD8 based on a bivalent model of interaction between one CD8 alpha/alpha homodimer and two MHC class I molecules. These results therefore provide support for the model.