The T cell antigen receptor is a multi-subunit receptor complex present on the surface of all mature and many developing T cells. It consists of clonotypic heterodimers noncovalently linked to five invariant chains that are encoded by four genes and referred to as the CD3 complex. The CD3 gamma, delta, and epsilon chains have been molecularly characterized. In this report the molecular cloning of a complementary DNA encoding the zeta chain of the murine T cell antigen receptor is described. The predicted protein sequence of the zeta chain suggests a structure distinct from those of any of the previously described receptor subunits.