Two DNase I-hypersensitive regions were identified downstream of the TCR gene constant region. One of these regions is located at the site of a putative enhancer element and was observed only in T cell lines and not in cell lines derived from other tissues. The other DNase-hypersensitive region was also detected only in T cell lines but only in those expressing TCR-beta RNA. Thus, the first region is probably tissue specific, while the second region is probably tissue and stage specific. The DNA sequence of the second DNase I-hypersensitive region revealed several stretches of nucleotides that are characteristic of consensus sequences for regulatory elements. These results, together with the observations in transgenic mice that indicate a requirement for two distinct regions for optimal TCR gene expression, suggest the presence of at least two regulatory regions downstream of the C-beta-2 region; one is an enhancer region and the other is a transcriptionally related regulatory region. The tissue/stage specificity of these DNase I-hypersensitive regions supports the notion that changes in chromatin structure control tissue-specific gene expression.

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