Histocompatibility antigens on the surface of human lymphoblastoid cells were quantified by a microadsorption technique. During the course of measles virus infection, no quantitative or qualitations in surface HLA antigens were observed. In contrast, infection with poliovirus type 1 or vesicular stomatitis virus, or treatment with puromycin (50 microgram/ml) resulted in a significant decrease in surface HLA. These experiments suggest that an inhibition of host protein synthesis rather than the insertion of virus-specificied antigens into the membrane results in a net decrease in amounts of this cell surface antigen. The HLA antigens also appear to be both functionally and structurally distinct from measles virus surface antigens. Pretreatment of cells with HLA-directed antibody did not prevent the infection of these cells by measles virus, thus HLA antigens appear unrelated to the measles virus receptor site on the plasma membrane. Electron microscopic studies revealed that measles virus maturation occurs at membrane sites devoid of demonstrable HLA. Furthermore, HLA antigens could not be detected on the surfaces of mature infectious virions.