Intercellular communication between the somatic and germline cells is vital to development of the Drosophila egg chamber. One critical outcome of this communication is the polarization of the oocyte along the anterior-posterior axis, a process induced by an unknown signal from the somatic follicle cells to the oocyte. The existence of this signal has been inferred from several reports demonstrating that the differentiation and patterning of the follicle cells by the spatially restricted activation of certain cell-signaling pathways is necessary for axis formation in the oocyte. These reports have also provided a framework for understanding how these signaling pathways are integrated to generate the follicle-cell pattern, but the precise role of the follicle cells in anterior-posterior axis formation remains enigmatic. Research has identified several genes that appear to be involved in the polarizing communication from the follicle cells to the oocyte. Interestingly the proteins encoded by most of these genes are associated with the extracellular matrix, suggesting a pivotal role for this complex biological component in the polarizing communication between the follicle cells and the oocyte. This review summarizes the findings in this area, and uses the experimental analyses of these genes to evaluate various models describing the possible nature of the polarizing signal, and the role of these genes in it.