We report here on the isolation and characterization of small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs) and corresponding small nuclear RNA (snRNA) species from nuclei of Drosophila melanogaster. Velocity sedimentation in sucrose gradients was used to partially fractionate the RNPs; analysis of fractions so obtained suggests that, in general, one snRNP contains one snRNA. At least 11 species of snRNA are present in Drosophila nuclei; among them we identify a potential mammalian U1 homolog based on sequence homology. Autoimmune antiserum designated anti-Sm from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus recognizes nuclear antigens in Drosophila and precipitates seven species of snRNPs. The antigens in HeLa and Drosophila nuclei recognized by anti-Sm antibodies have been identified and compared. Anti-Sm antibodies at least bind to a 26,000-dalton polypeptide in HeLa extracts and to two polypeptides, one of 18,000 daltons and one of 26,000 daltons, in Drosophila extracts. This suggests that the 26,000-dalton polypeptide is an evolutionarily conserved antigenic component of Drosophila and HeLa snRNPs.