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Murine intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes (iIELs) are made up of a heterogeneous mix of T cells with unique phenotypes. Whereas CD8(+) T cells in peripheral lymphoid organs use CD8alpha/beta and are selected on MHC class Ia molecules, a majority of iIELs use CD8alpha/alpha. Here, we report that the presence of CD8alpha/alpha TCR-alpha/beta cells in iIELs is independent of classical MHC class I molecules K(b) and D(b), as illustrated by their presence in K(b)/D(b) double-knockout mice and in mice lacking a nonclassical MHC class I molecule, CD1d. Most strikingly, their presence is decreased by approximately 70% in mice lacking transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP). The TAP-dependent nonclassical MHC class I molecule Qa-2 is strongly implicated in the presence of these cells, as inferred from the low numbers of CD8alpha/alpha TCR-alpha/beta T cells in mice deficient in Qa-2 genes. Second, a Qa-2-transgenic mouse made in a Qa-2(-) strain showed an increase in the numbers of CD8alpha/alpha cells among its iIELs. Thus, the presence of CD8alpha/alpha TCR-alpha/beta cells in iIELs is mainly dependent on the nonclassical MHC class I molecule Qa-2.