A murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV)-encoded protein, m157, has a putative major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) structure and is recognized by the Ly49H NK cell activation receptor. Using a monoclonal antibody against m157, in this study we directly demonstrated that m157 is a cell surface-expressed glycophosphatidylinositol-anchored protein with early viral gene kinetics. Beta-2 microglobulin and TAP1 (transporter associated with antigen processing 1) were not required for its expression. MCMV-encoded proteins that down-regulate MHC-I did not affect the expression of m157. Thus, m157 is expressed on infected cells in a manner independent of viral regulation of host MHC-I.