Exposure of phosphatidylserine is a conserved feature of apoptotic cells and is thought to act as a signal for engulfment of the cell corpse. A putative receptor for phosphatidylserine (PSR) was previously identified in mammalian systems. This receptor is proposed to function in engulfment of apoptotic cells, although gene ablation of PSR has resulted in a variety of phenotypes. We examined the role of the predicted Drosophila homolog of PSR (dPSR) in apoptotic cell engulfment and found no obvious role for dPSR in apoptotic cell engulfment by phagocytes in the embryo. In addition, dPSR is localized to the nucleus, inconsistent with a role in apoptotic cell recognition. However, we were surprised to find that overexpression of dPSR protects from apoptosis, while loss of dPSR enhances apoptosis in the developing eye. The increased apoptosis is mediated by the head involution defective (Wrinkled) gene product. In addition, our data suggest that dPSR acts through the c-Jun-NH(2) terminal kinase pathway to alter the sensitivity to cell death.