The cis-acting sequences regulating transcription of the beta-chain of the TCR have been analyzed and multiple elements identified. The minimum 5' upstream sequence displaying promoter activity is a fragment extending 85 bp upstream of the transcriptional start site. Deletion of an additional 43 bp from the 5' end of this fragment abolished promoter activity. The presence of the conserved TCR beta-chain decanucleotide motif, an AP-1 consensus sequence and an inverted repeat in the deleted region, suggests their role as targets for transacting factors regulating transcription of the beta chain gene. Sequences between -343 and -85 increase transcription from the -85 fragment in T cells. The promoter is active in both T cells and fibroblasts. The enhancer was capable of enhancing TCR V beta 2 promoter activity in both T cells and fibroblasts. Sequences further upstream of the V beta 2 promoter down regulate V beta 2 promoter activity in the absence of the enhancer but its repressive influence is overcome in the presence of the TCR beta-chain enhancer.