The Drosophila position-specific integrins (PS integrins or PS antigens) comprise two heterodimeric complexes, alpha PS1 beta PS and alpha PS2 beta PS. With the cloning of alpha PS1 described here, we complete the characterization of the primary structure of the three PS integrin subunits. We have purified the alpha PS1 subunit, obtained peptide sequence and isolated genomic and cDNA clones. The encoded alpha PS1 protein contains the cysteine pattern of the cleaved alpha integrins, three putative metal binding domains and shows the other characteristic features of alpha integrins. Regions of sequence variation indicate that alpha PS1 is distinct from all other alpha chains. The transcript analysis shows that the patterns of both alpha PS1 mRNA and protein expression are the same, suggesting that the gene is controlled transcriptionally. We compare the gene structures of the Drosophila alpha PS1, alpha PS2, the human alpha IIb and alpha X (p150,95) and the C. elegans F54G8.3 integrins. We find several positions and phases of introns conserved which, supported by conservation also in the amino acid sequence, indicates that they all derive from a common ancestral gene.