The development of mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells is dependent upon the class Ib molecule MHC-related protein 1 (MR1), commensal bacteria, and a thymus. Furthermore, recent studies have implicated MR1 presentation to MAIT cells in bacteria recognition, although the mechanism remains undefined. Surprisingly, however, surface expression of MR1 has been difficult to detect serologically, despite ubiquitous detection of MR1 transcripts and intracellular protein. In this article, we define a unique mAb capable of stabilizing endogenous mouse MR1 at the cell surface, resulting in enhanced mouse MAIT cell activation. Our results demonstrated that under basal conditions, endogenous MR1 transiently visits the cell surface, thus reconciling the aforementioned serologic and functional studies. Furthermore, using this approach, double-positive thymocytes, macrophages, and dendritic cells were identified as potential APCs for MAIT cell development and activation. Based on this pattern of MR1 expression, it is intriguing to speculate that constitutive expression of MR1 may be detrimental for maintenance of immune homeostasis in the gut and/or detection of pathogenic bacteria in mucosal tissues.