The germ-line joining (J) gene segments and constant (C) genes encoding the β chain of the mouse T cell antigen receptor have been isolated on a single cosmid clone. There are two constant genes, Cβ1 and Cβ2, each associated with a cluster of Jβ gene segments. The nucleotide sequences of the Cβ2 gene and of the Jβ2 cluster gene segments have been determined. The coding sequence of the Cβ2 gene is very similar to the sequence of a cDNA clone encoded by the Cβ1 gene. The Cβ2 gene has four exons; exon-intron structure does not obviously correspond to the functional domains of the protein. The Jβ2 gene segment cluster contains six functional J gene segments. We have isolated specific probes for the Cβ1, Cβ2, Jβ1, and Jβ2 regions to examine DNA rearrangements in T lymphocytes. DNA rearrangements can occur in both Jβ gene segment clusters, and both Cβ genes appear functional.
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