The TL region of the major histocompatibility complex of the mouse contains dozens of tandemly arranged class I genes, including those encoding the thymus leukemia (TL) antigens. TL antigens have been thought to be expressed only on the surface of some T lineage cells, namely immature thymocytes of some mouse strains (TL+ strains), some leukemia cells, and activated T cells. While the function of TL antigens is unknown, recent studies have implicated the products of at least some TL region class I genes as molecules that present antigens to gamma/delta T cells. Since some gamma/delta T cells are known to be specifically associated with certain epithelial tissues, we have investigated the expression of some TL region class I genes in a variety of epithelium-containing tissues. Our results show that the TL antigen gene of C57BL/6 mice, T3b, and the TL antigen genes of BALB/c mice, T3d (previously T3c) and T18d (previously T13c), are highly expressed in the epithelium of the small intestine. In the case of T3b, we further show, using a T3 product-specific antibody, that its product is expressed on the surface of the columnar epithelial cells. In addition, we demonstrated that two other TL region class I genes of C57BL/6 origin, T9b and T21b, are also expressed nearly exclusively in intestinal epithelial cells. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that the products of these TL region class I genes are recognized by gamma/delta T cell receptors of intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes, a subset of gamma/delta T cells that is localized in the intestinal epithelium and has a restricted V gamma repertoire. Finally, our study indicates that the relative levels of expression of the two homologous TL antigen genes, T3d and T18d, differ widely between the thymus and the intestine.