MHC class II-associated invariant chain contains a sorting signal for endosomal compartments

Cell. 1990 Nov 16;63(4):707-16. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(90)90137-4.


The invariant chain (Ii) is a transmembrane protein that associates with the MHC class II molecules in the endoplasmic reticulum. Expression of Ii in MHC class II-negative CV1 cells showed that it acquired complex-type oligosaccharide side chains and was retained in endosomal compartments. To search for a sorting signal, we made progressive deletions from the cytoplasmic N-terminus of Ii. Deleting 11 amino acid residues resulted in a protein that was still sorted and retained in endosomal vesicles, whereas deletion of 15 or more amino acid residues resulted in a protein that became resident in the plasma membrane. Amino acids 12-15 are thus essential for intracellular transport to endosomal compartments. As Ii is intracellularly associated with the MHC class II molecules, it is proposed that Ii determines the intracellular transport route of these molecules.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Membrane / immunology
  • Chromosome Deletion
  • Endocytosis*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Genes, MHC Class II
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / analysis
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Immunoelectron
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plasmids
  • Rats
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Transfection


  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II
  • Macromolecular Substances