In vertebrates, tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) play key roles in extracellular matrix (ECM) homeostasis and growth control. Deletion of the recently cloned Timp gene of Drosophila results in a subviable phenotype. Adult flies display inflated wings similar to integrin mutants, suffer from a bloated gut and progressive dissolution of internal tissues, and die prematurely. Our results demonstrate that the Timp gene product controls selective aspects of ECM function in Drosophila, and suggest that it is involved in cell adhesion/cell signaling pathways. Hence, Drosophila Timp mutants may prove useful as a model system for a wide variety of pathological conditions related to ECM dysregulation.