We have recently proposed that a common recombinase performs all of the many variable region gene assembly events in B and T cells, and that the specificity of these joining events is mediated by regulating the "accessibility" of the involved gene segments. To test this possibility, we have introduced "accessible" T cell receptor (TCR) variable region gene segments into a pre-B cell line capable of recombining endogenous and transfected immunoglobulin (Ig) variable region gene segments. Although the corresponding "inaccessible" endogenous TCR gene segments do not rearrange in this line or in B cells in general, the introduced TCR gene segments join very frequently and, in fact, closely resemble introduced Ig gene segments in their recombination characteristics. These observations suggest a new role for conventional Ig transcriptional enhancers--recombinational enhancement. Our studies provide insight into additional aspects of the joining mechanism such as N region insertion, aberrant joining, and recombination-recognition sequence requirements for joining.