Generation of the anterior-posterior body pattern in the Drosophila embryo requires the activity of the segmentation genes. The segmentation gene runt has been classified as one of the primary pair-rule genes because of the pivotal role it plays in regulating the expression of other pair-rule genes. Here, we present the structure of this gene and describe the pattern of runt protein expression during embryogenesis. The deduced protein sequence shows no obvious overall homology with any sequences in the data base. The absence of an identifiable transcription factor motif (e.g., homeo box, zinc finger, leucine zipper, or helix-loop-helix) makes runt different from the other early-acting segmentation proteins. A runt-specific polyclonal antibody was generated and used to demonstrate that the subcellular location of the protein is in the nucleus. Double-staining immunolocalization experiments were used to determine the overlap of the runt protein pattern with the patterns of the pair-rule genes hairy (h), even-skipped (eve), and fushi tarazu (ftz). We found that the patterns of runt and hairy are complementary. Their phasing is shifted anteriorly by two cell diameters with respect to the complementary eve and ftz patterns. Experiments with the runt antibody also indicated that the protein is present throughout embryogenesis and is expressed extensively in the developing central and peripheral nervous system.