The yolk protein 1 gene (yp1) of Drosophila melanogaster is expressed only in the ovarian follicle cells and the fat bodies of adult females. We have previously shown that a different cis-acting DNA region is required for each of these tissue specificities. In this paper we use germ line transformation to localize and characterized one of these tissue-specific regulatory regions. We demonstrate that a 125 bp segment of DNA located 196 bp upstream of the yp1 cap site is sufficient to determine the sex-, stage-, and fat body-specific expression of the yp1 gene. We also find that this region can confer yp1-specific expression on a heterologous Drosophila promoter. This specificity is retained when the region is in different orientations and at different distances from the heterologous promoter. Thus a small regulatory region acts in vivo as a positive enhancer to determine the fat body expression pattern of yp1.