The murine T cell receptor V alpha 3 gene segment is associated with reactivity to p-azobenzenearsonate, as indicated by several independent lines of evidence. First, three out of four arsonate-reactive T cell clones tested (two I-Ad-and one I-Ak-restricted) utilized V alpha 3. Second, bulk splenic cultures enriched for arsonate/H-2d and arsonate/H-2k responsive T cells showed increased expression of V alpha 3 mRNA. Third, a V alpha 3-containing alpha chain (Ar-5: arsonate/I-Ad) transferred arsonate responsiveness to an appropriate recipient T cell (O3: ovalbumin/I-Ad). Fourth, an independently derived V alpha 3-expressing T cell clone (2C: alloreactive to Ld) showed a response to arsonate/Ld. Thus, a V alpha 3 gene segment, in conjunction with at least two different J alpha segments (J alpha 20'(Ar-5) and J alpha pHDS58(2C)) and at least three different beta chains (V beta 2(Ar-5), V beta 6(O3), and V beta 8(2C], confers reactivity to arsonate in association with at least three different MHC proteins (I-Ad, I-Ak, and Ld). We suggest that V alpha 3 encodes a protein sequence with a binding site for the arsonate hapten.