The Drosophila anterior-posterior axis is established at stage 7 of oogenesis when the posterior follicle cells signal to polarize the oocyte microtubule cytoskeleton. This requires the conserved PAR-1 kinase, which can be detected at the posterior of the oocyte in immunostainings from stage 9. However, this localization depends on Oskar localization, which requires the earlier PAR-1-dependent microtubule reorganization, indicating that Oskar-associated PAR-1 cannot establish oocyte polarity. Here we analyze the function of the different PAR-1 isoforms and find that only PAR-1 N1 isoforms can completely rescue the oocyte polarity phenotype. Furthermore, PAR-1 N1 is recruited to the posterior cortex of the oocyte at stage 7 in response to the polarizing follicle cell signal, and this requires actin, but not microtubules. This suggests that posterior PAR-1 N1 polarizes the microtubule cytoskeleton. PAR-1 N1 localization is mediated by a cortical targeting domain and a conserved anterior-lateral exclusion signal in its C-terminal linker domain. PAR-1 is also required for the polarization of the C. elegans zygote and is recruited to the posterior cortex in an actin-dependent manner. Our results therefore identify a molecular parallel between axis formation in Drosophila and C. elegans and make Drosophila PAR-1 N1 the earliest known marker for the polarization of the oocyte.