Little is known about the biology of murine T-cell receptors (TCR) expressed in human cells. We recently observed that a murine anti-human p53 TCR is highly functional when expressed in human lymphocytes. Herein, we compare human and mouse TCR function and expression to delineate the molecular basis for the apparent superior biological activity of murine receptors in human T lymphocytes. To this end, we created hybrid TCRs where we swapped the original constant regions with either human or mouse ones, respectively. We showed that murine or "murinized" receptors were overexpressed on the surface of human lymphocytes compared with their human/humanized counterparts and were able to mediate higher levels of cytokine secretion when cocultured with peptide-pulsed antigen-presenting cells. Preferential pairing of murine constant regions and improved CD3 stability seemed to be responsible for these observations. These enhanced biological properties translated into significantly greater antitumor response mediated by TCR with mouse constant regions. Furthermore, we were able to circumvent the natural low avidity of class I MHC TCR in CD4+ cells by introducing the murinized TCR into CD4 + lymphocytes, giving them the ability to recognize melanoma tumors. These findings have implications for human TCR gene transfer therapy and may provide new insights into the biology of the TCR/CD3 complex.