HLA-DR antigens are polymorphic cell surface glycoproteins involved in the control of the immune response in man. They consist of two subunits, the alpha and the beta chains. In addition, an invariant glycoprotein of Mr 33,000 (DRp33) is associated intracellularly with HLA-DR antigens. A cDNA clone for DRp33, called 33-10, was isolated. Because no amino acid sequence has yet been determined for DRp33 the identification of cDNA clone 33-10 was based on selection of mRNA by hybridization, subsequent translation in a rabbit reticulocyte lysate supplemented with microsomes, and translation in microinjected Xenopus oocytes followed by immunoprecipitation with an anti-DR antiserum. The translation products assembled with DR alpha and beta chains in oocytes coinjected with all three mRNAs. Assembly of DR alpha and beta chains was also observed in the absence of DRp33 mRNA. Furthermore, when compared with DRp33 immunoprecipitated from a human B-cell line, translation products of the hybrid-selected mRNA showed (i) identical migration in two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, (ii) identical apparent molecular weight in the absence of N-linked glycosylation, and (iii) a very similar two-dimensional peptide map. Transcription of the DRp33 gene into a mRNA 1,400 nucleotides long was observed in B cells but was undetectable in T-cell lines and was very low in liver. Thus, DRp33 appears to be coordinately expressed with DR alpha and beta chains. Hybridization to DNA of mouse-human somatic cell hybrids showed that DRp33 is encoded by a gene that is located outside the major histocompatibility complex.