Cells performing V(D)J recombination make specific cuts in DNA at recombination signal sequences. Here, we show that nuclear extracts of pre-B cell lines carry out this specific cleavage. The products of cleavage are the same as found previously in thymocytes: full-length, blunt, 5'-phosphorylated signal ends, and covalently sealed (hairpin) coding ends. A complete signal sequence is required. Recombinant RAG1 protein greatly increases activity and complements an inactive extract from a RAG1 (-/-) pre-B cell line. When the extracts are fractionated, cleavage activity correlates with the presence of RAG2 protein. These results suggest that RAG1 and RAG2 are components of the V(D)J recombinase.