The Drosophila vitelline membrane protein gene VM32E is expressed according to a precise temporal and spatial program in the follicle cells. Results from germ line transformation experiments using different fragments of the -465/-39 VM32E region fused to the hsp/lacZ reporter gene revealed that the region -348/-39 is sufficient to confer the wild-type expression pattern. Within this segment, distinct cis-regulatory elements control VM32E expression in ventral and dorsal follicle cells. The region between -135/-113 is essential for expression of the VM32E gene in the ventral columnar follicle cells. Expression in the dorsal domain requires the two regions -348/-254 and -118/-39. Furthermore, the region -253/-119 appears to contain a negative element that represses gene activity in anterior centripetal cells. We suggest that the expression of the VM32E gene throughout the follicular epithelium is controlled by specific cis-regulatory elements acting in distinct spatial domains and following a precise developmental program.