The S region of the murine major histocompatibility complex contains two related genes (C4-X and C4-Y), one of which encodes the fourth component of complement (C4). We have introduced cloned C4-X and C4-Y genes into L cells. C4-X transfectants contained no detectable C4-related RNA, whereas C4-Y transfectants contained large amounts of C4-related RNA. Culture supernatants of C4-Y transfectants contained processed C4 which was indistin-guishable from macrophage-derived C4. The L-cell-derived C4 restored hemolytic activity to C4-deficient serum, served as a substrate for C1s, and underwent autolytic cleavage suggesting the presence of an intramolecular thiolester bond. These experiments identify C4-Y as the functional C4 gene in H-2d mice and indicate that L cells can process pro-C4 correctly. © 1984.