The total number of cell surface glycoprotein molecules at the plasma membrane results from a balance between their constitutive internalization and their egress to the cell surface from intracellular pools and/or biosynthetic pathway. Constitutive internalization is net result of constitutive endocytosis and endocytic recycling. In this study we have compared spontaneous internalization of murine major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules (K(d), D(d), full L(d), and empty L(d)) after depletion of their egress to the cell surface (Cycloheximide [CHX], brefeldin A [BFA]) and internalization after external binding of monoclonal antibody (mAb). MHC class I alleles differ regarding their cell surface stability, kinetics, and in the way of internalization and degradation. K(d) and D(d) molecules are more stable at the cell surface than L(d) molecules and, thus, constitutively internalized more slowly. Although the binding of mAbs to cell surface MHC class I molecules results in faster internalization than depletion of their egress, it is still slow and, thereby, can serve as a model for tracking of MHC class I endocytosis. Internalization of fully conformed MHC class I molecules (K(d), D(d), and L(d)) was neither inhibited by chlorpromazine (CP) (inhibitor of clathrin endocytosis), nor with filipin (inhibitor of lipid raft dependent endocytosis), indicating that fully conformed MHC class I molecules are internalized via the bulk pathway. In contrast, internalization of empty L(d) molecules was inhibited by filipin, indicating that non-conformed MHC class I molecules require intact cholesterol-rich membrane microdomains for their constitutive internalization. Thus, conformed and non-conformed MHC class I molecules use different endocytic pathways for constitutive internalization.