Studies of murine T cell receptor genes indicate that the VT beta repertoire, in contrast to the large VT alpha, VH, and VK repertoires, is limited to approximately 21 genes. Large differences between the various VT beta sequences allow classification into distinct subfamilies consisting of one or few members. The VT beta sequence of a gene, RTB92, expressed in a rabbit T cell line is most closely related to a VT beta gene expressed in the human cell line Molt-4. Genomic blots with RTB92 VT beta region used as probe indicated conservation of related VT beta gene subfamilies in man and pig, but no related sequences were seen in rat, mouse, or hamster. The relationship among these VT beta genes mirrors similarities and differences in MHC genes of the compared species and suggests coordinate evolution of these functionally related gene families. The constant region of RTB92 was shown to be rabbit CT beta 2 by reference to genomic clones. Comparisons with constant region sequences of human and murine CT beta 1 and CT beta 2 chains reveal no similarities in amino acid or nucleic acid sequence in the coding region characteristic of the respective isotypes. Intraspecies homologies between CT beta 1 and CT beta 2 sequences were much greater than those between CT beta 1 or CT beta 2 from other species. By contrast, comparisons of JT beta and 3' untranslated region sequences showed significant interspecies conservation of sequences in the beta 1 and in the beta 2 regions.

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