The tissue polarity gene fuzzy (fy) has two roles in the development of Drosophila wing hairs. One is to specify the correct orientation of the hair by limiting the site of prehair initiation to the distal vertex of the wing cell. The other is to control wing cell hair number by maintaining the integrity of the cytoskeletal components that direct hair development. The requirement for fy in these processes is temperature dependent, as the amorphic fy phenotype is cold sensitive. Analysis of mosaic wings has shown that the fy gene product functions cell autonomously. We have cloned the fy transcript, which encodes a novel four-pass transmembrane protein that shares significant homology with proteins encoded by vertebrate cDNAs. The fourth putative transmembrane domain does not appear to play a significant role in tissue polarity as it is deleted in a weak fy hypomorph. Expression of the fy transcript is developmentally regulated and peaks sharply at the time of wing cell pre-hair initiation.