The dominant trans-acting major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-linked class I modifier (cim) locus, previously recognized through its ability to determine altered alloantigenicity of a rat class I molecule, RT1.A3, is shown here to influence class I intracellular transport. The MHC recombinant laboratory rat strains PVG.R1 and PVG.R8 display unusually long retention of RT1.Aa within the endoplasmic reticulum or cis-Golgi. In appropriate F1 hybrid cells heterozygous for RT1.Aa and another class I MHC allele, RT1.Ac, only the RT1.Aa protein is subject to slow transport. The cim gene product therefore shows class I allele specificity in its action, cim appears to be a polymorphic locus whose product is directly involved in the processes of class I MHC assembly and/or intracellular transport.

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