The germ-line joining (J) gene segments and constant (C) genes encoding the beta chain of the mouse T cell antigen receptor have been isolated on a single cosmid clone. There are two constant genes, C beta 1 and C beta 2, each associated with a cluster of J beta gene segments. The nucleotide sequences of the C beta 2 gene and of the J beta 2 cluster gene segments have been determined. The coding sequence of the C beta 2 gene is very similar to the sequence of a cDNA clone encoded by the C beta 1 gene. The C beta 2 gene has four exons; exon-intron structure does not obviously correspond to the functional domains of the protein. The J beta 2 gene segment cluster contains six functional J gene segments. We have isolated specific probes for the C beta 1, C beta 2, J beta 1, and J beta 2 regions to examine DNA rearrangements in T lymphocytes. DNA rearrangements can occur in both J beta gene segment clusters, and both C beta genes appear functional.