Intraepithelial T lymphocytes possess a (TGF beta)-inducible integrin complex that consists of the beta 7 integrin chain in association with a novel alpha chain, murine alpha M290. Using antibodies directed against the murine alpha M290 chain, IL-3-dependent murine bone marrow-derived mast cells demonstrated positive staining after induction with TGF beta. Sequence information from the human intraepithelial T lymphocyte-alpha E gene sequence was used to clone the murine homolog from a TGF beta-induced T cell library. The murine alpha E homolog gene encodes a protein recognized by antibodies to alpha M290. Expression of this gene by bone marrow-derived mast cells was found to be induced by TGF beta or IgE-mediated cross-linking of Fc epsilon R1. Furthermore, exposure of murine TK-1 cells to supernatants from activated mast cells induces the expression of the alpha M290 gene, indicating that a mast cell mediator(s) can act in a paracrine manner to induce expression of this integrin complex by other cells.