Interaction with the extracellular matrix is important for the proliferation and differentiation of cells during development. A specialized extracellular matrix, basement membrane, is built around a scaffold of procollagen IV molecules. We report the sequence of a 2.5-kilobase cDNA which contains the carboxyl end of a Drosophila melanogaster procollagen IV. The amino acid sequence of the carboxyl-terminal domain, which forms an essential intermolecular linkage between procollagen IV molecules, is 59% identical in Drosophila and vertebrate procollagens IV, and an additional 17% of residues are conservatively substituted. This implies that the nature of the linkage is also conserved. We suggest that intermolecular junctions through procollagen IV carboxyl domains are fundamental elements of the molecular architecture of Metazoan basement membranes and have been conserved during evolution. The isolation and identification of this basement membrane collagen gene of Drosophila will help in deducing the function of procollagen IV in basement membranes.