Interferons are essential for establishing cytotoxic T-lymphocyte immunity against viral pathogens through different mechanisms including the modulation of antigen presentation to T-cell subsets. At the present time, interferons have yet to be isolated from teleost fish. We have developed a salmonid model to examine whether MHC gene regulation is modulated during acute viral infection in trout, an event attributable to interferons in mammals. During peak infection with infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus, induction of STAT-1, PSMB9A and ABCB2 mRNA was evident in all tissues within infected fish, as compared with controls. In addition, MHC class Ia and β2 microglobulin (β2m) transcript levels were enhanced within the experimental group but surprisingly, splenic and pronephric class IIB mRNA expression was virtually absent. A time-course study looking at 24, 72 and 192 h post-infection was then performed to determine the overall kinetics of this response. STAT-1 and PSMB9A message levels increased early during the immune response and remain at relatively high levels until the final time point. MHC class Ia expression is not consistently upregulated until midway in the response. MHC class IIB transcripts are downregulated by 72 h in the spleen and pronephros and then partially restored by 192 h. Finally, analysis of the putative promoter regions for PSMB9A and ABCB2 identified interferon (IFN) regulatory factory (IRF-1) and INF-γ (GAS) activation sites that may be involved in the regulation of these genes during viral infection.