We previously isolated a cDNA encoding the 60-kDa murine protein (RBP-J kappa protein) that specifically binds to the immunoglobulin J kappa recombination signal sequence. The RBP-J kappa gene is highly conserved in a wide variety of organisms including man, Xenopus, Drosophila, and yeast. We have isolated and characterized the Drosophila homologue of the RBP-J kappa gene. The Drosophila RBP-J kappa gene was mapped to the polytene region 35BC of chromosome 2. The nucleotide sequence of this gene indicates that it is not one of the known genes located in the 35 BC region. The nucleotide and amino acid sequences of the Drosophila and mouse RBP-J kappa genes are 60 and 75% homologous, respectively. The central 248-residue regions of RBP-J kappa proteins of the two species are 93% homologous and include the 40-residue integrase motif. The Drosophila RBP-J kappa protein expressed in COS cells bound to the J kappa recognition sequence with the same specificity as the murine counterpart. These results suggest that Drosophila may have a site-specific recombination system which utilizes the immunoglobulin recombination signal sequence. Implications for evolution of immunoglobulin gene rearrangement were also discussed.