We describe the generation of ovalbumin (OVA)-specific, MHC class II-restricted alpha beta T cell receptor (TCR) transgenic mice. Initial attempts at generating these transgenic mice utilized heterologous regulatory elements to drive the expression of cDNA genes encoding the separate alpha- and beta-chains of the TCR. Unexpectedly, T cells bearing the transgenic alpha beta TCR failed to emerge from the thymus in these mice, although the transgenes did modify endogenous TCR expression. However, subsequent modification of the approach which enabled expression of the TCR beta-chain under the control of its natural regulatory elements generated mice whose peripheral T cells expressed the transgenic TCR and were capable of antigen-dependent proliferation. These results show that successful generation of MHC class II-restricted, OVA-specific alpha beta TCR transgenic mice was dependent upon combining cDNA- and genomic DNA-based constructs for expression of the respective alpha- and beta-chains of the TCR.