Severe norpA mutations in Drosophila eliminate the photoreceptor potential and render the fly completely blind. Recent biochemical analyses have shown that norpA mutants lack phospholipase C (PLC) activity in the eye. A combination of chromosomal walking and transposon-mediated mutagenesis was used to clone the norpA gene. This gene encodes a 7.5 kb RNA that is expressed in the adult head. In situ hybridizations of norpA cDNA to adult tissue sections show that this gene is expressed abundantly in the retina. The putative norpA protein is composed of 1095 amino acid residues and has extensive sequence similarity to a PLC amino acid sequence from bovine brain. We suggest that the norpA gene encodes a PLC expressed in the eye of Drosophila and that PLC is an essential component of the Drosophila phototransduction pathway.