By screening previously isolated genomic clones spanning the mouse TCR V beta locus with V beta-specific oligonucleotides, we have isolated one new functional V beta gene and six V beta pseudogenes. Because this method of identifying new genes does not depend on expression levels, we conclude that most, if not all, V beta genes in the mouse have been identified. The newly identified pseudogenes increase the frequency of mouse TCR V beta pseudogenes to 28%, a frequency similar to that estimated for mouse Ig VH pseudogenes (24). Three of the newly discovered pseudogenes are clustered in a region around another pseudogene (V beta 17b). The extensive DNA diversity, as reflected in both the nucleotide sequence and the RFLP, indicates that this genomic region is a possible hotspot of recombination. The new functional gene, V beta 19a, is expressed at very low levels, which explains why it has not been isolated earlier. V beta 19 shows expression patterns that correlate with the previously described Va beta and Vb beta haplotypes.

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