Drosophila neuroglian is an integral membrane glycoprotein that is expressed on a variety of cell types in the Drosophila embryo, including expression on a large subset of glial and neuronal cell bodies in the central and peripheral nervous systems and on the fasciculating axons that extend along them. Neuroglian cDNA clones were isolated by expression cloning. cDNA sequence analysis reveals that neuroglian is a member of the immunoglobulin superfamily. The extracellular portion of the protein consists of six immunoglobulin C2-type domains followed by five fibronectin type III domains. Neuroglian is closely related to the immunoglobulin-like vertebrate neural adhesion molecules and, among them, shows most extensive homology to mouse L1. Its homology to L1 and its embryonic localization suggest that neuroglian may play a role in neural and glial cell adhesion in the developing Drosophila embryo. We report here on the identification of a lethal mutation in the neuroglian gene.