We have characterized RpII215, the gene encoding the largest subunit of RNA polymerase II in Drosophila melanogaster. DNA sequencing and nuclease S1 analyses provided the primary structure of this gene, its 7 kb RNA and 215 kDa protein products. The amino-terminal 80% of the subunit harbors regions with strong homology to the beta' subunit of Escherichia coli RNA polymerase and to the largest subunits of other eukaryotic RNA polymerases. The carboxyl-terminal 20% of the subunit is composed of multiple repeats of a seven amino acid consensus sequence, Tyr-Ser-Pro-Thr-Ser-Pro-Ser. The homology domains, as well as the unique carboxyl-terminal structure, are considered in the light of current knowledge of RNA polymerase II and the properties of its largest subunit. Additionally, germline transformation demonstrated that a 9.4 kb genomic DNA segment containing the alpha-amanitin-resistant allele, RpII215C4, includes all sequences required to produce amanitin-resistant transformants.