Ectopic expression of neutral proteins, such as beta-galactosidase, in developing embryos has been an invaluable tool for studies of gene expression and embryonic development. However, expression of beta-galactosidase does not reveal the shape of the cells containing it. We have examined the suitability of rat CD2, a small transmembrane protein of the immunoglobulin superfamily, as a marker of cell morphology in Drosophila. We selected the regulatory sequences of the Drosophila mesoderm-specific gene twist to express CD2 and prepared a chimeric gene, twi-CD2. Embryos containing twi-CD2 faithfully express CD2 in the same pattern as Twist. Expression of CD2 on the surface of cells reveals the shape of cells when stained with existing monoclonal antibodies. We have also constructed a CD2 gene that can be used with the GAL4 system and show that CD2 can be expressed on the surface of epithelial cells and along the length of axons.