To characterize cis-acting elements controlling the expression of T cell receptor beta-chains we generated a number of transgenic mouse lines harboring a rearranged T cell receptor beta-chain with different extensions of 5' and 3' flanking sequences. Transcriptional analysis of transgenic mice carrying these clones showed that sequences located downstream of the polyadenylation signal of the C beta 2 region are indispensable for expression in transgenic mice. The sequences conferring enhancer activity in this fragment were further defined by transient CAT assays. Strong enhancer activity was found to reside in a 550 bp fragment located 5 kb downstream from C beta 2. The nucleotide sequence of this fragment revealed a number of oligonucleotide motifs characteristic for enhancer elements.