A lymphoid-specific transcription enhancer element has recently been identified at the far 3' end of the rat immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) locus. Sequence analysis presented here reveals that this enhancer is flanked by a 350-bp invert repeat, giving a structure reminiscent of a transposable element. We therefore screened for the equivalent enhancer in the mouse to determine whether its presence was conserved during evolution. A mouse homologue was indeed identified and is located 16 kb downstream of the C alpha 1 exon. It is also flanked by invert repeats and these are not repeated throughout the genome. The mouse and rat enhancers retain high sequence homology. As regard activity, the IgH 3'-enhancer is lymphoid specific. However, this activity was detected in two plasmacytoma lines tested but not in two B cell lymphomas nor in HeLa cells suggesting that the enhancer may only play a stage-specific role during lymphocyte differentiation. As regards function within the IgH locus, we found that inclusion of the mouse IgH 3'-enhancer (in addition to the intron-enhancer) on mu gene expression plasmids effected a small increase in mu mRNA levels in stable plasmacytoma transfectants.