Type III receptors for IgG (Fc gamma RII; ref. 1), high-affinity IgE receptors (Fc epsilon RI; ref. 2), as well as the T- and B-cell antigen receptors, consist of multiple components with specialized ligand-binding and signal transduction functions. Fc gamma RII alpha (ligand-binding) and gamma (signal-transducing) subunits are expressed in macrophages, a cell type involved in the uptake of antigen, its processing and the presentation of the resulting peptides to major histocompatibility complex class II-restricted T lymphocytes. Here we show that murine Fc gamma RIII, transfected into Fc gamma R-negative antigen-presenting B-lymphoma cells, mediate rapid ligand internalization and strongly increase the efficiency of antigen presentation when antigen is complexed to IgG. Efficient internalization and antigen presentation via Fc gamma RIII did not require the cytoplasmic domain of the ligand-binding alpha-chain, but did require the gamma-subunit. Using chimaeric molecules, we show that gamma-chain contains a signal for receptor internalization and that the mutation of either of the two tyrosine residues present in its cytoplasmic domain prevents efficient internalization and antigen presentation of immune complexes. Thus, associated chains and their tyrosine-containing motif are not exclusively involved in cell activation, but also determine multimeric receptor internalization.