We have cloned and analysed a gene from the insect parasite. Crithidia fasciculata, with homology to the gp63 metalloendoproteinase gene of Leishmania. The Crithidia gene homologue is arranged as a multicopy family comprised of approximately 7 genes. The mature transcript is 4.0 kb. The predicted amino acid sequence has significant homology with Leishmania gp63s, contains a zinc-binding motif and a potential site for addition of a glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor. Demonstration of a gp63 homologue in C. fasciculata, a monogenetic parasite, suggests that the molecule may play a role in parasite survival within the insect gut. (C) 1993 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.