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We present the nucleotide sequences of the two genomic constant (C)-region gene segments, C beta 1 and C beta 2, encoding the beta chain of the human T-cell antigen receptor. The two C beta genes are organized identically to each other and to the corresponding mouse genes, both having four exons, whose boundaries were confirmed from the sequence of a C beta 2 cDNA clone from the T-cell line MOLT-4. The predicted amino acid sequences of human C beta 1 and C beta 2 differ at only five positions, which suggests that the proteins have very similar functions. This similarity is the result of strong nucleotide-sequence conservation in protein-coding regions, which extends to silent positions. A quantitative analysis of an alignment of the nucleotide sequences of the two human genes shows that whereas the 5' ends (including the first exon) are extremely homologous, the 3' ends are widely divergent, with other regions having intermediate levels of homology. Analysis of published data [Gascoigne, N.R.J., Chien, Y., Becker, D.M., Kavaler, J. & Davis, M.M. (1984) Nature (London) 310, 387-391] shows that the mouse C beta 1 and C beta 2 genes are also virtually identical in their first exons but more divergent in the remaining coding regions. Therefore, partial gene conversion events may have occurred during the evolution of both human and mouse C beta genes.

Original publication




Journal article


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Publication Date





5068 - 5072


Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Base Sequence, Biological Evolution, Cloning, Molecular, DNA, Gene Conversion, Genes, Humans, Mice, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell