The ovo+ and ovarian tumor+ genes function in the germline sex determination pathway in Drosophila, but the hierarchical relationship between them is unknown. We found that increased ovo+ copy number resulted in increased ovarian tumor expression in the female germline and increased ovo expression in the male germline. The ovo locus encodes C2H2 zinc-finger proteins. Bacterially expressed OVO zinc-finger domain bound to multiple sites at or near the ovo and ovarian tumor promoters strongly suggesting that OVO is directly autoregulatory and that ovarian tumor is a direct downstream target of ovo in the germline sex determination hierarchy. Both positive and negative regulation by OVO proteins appears likely, depending on promoter context and on the sex of the fly. Our observation that two strong OVO-binding sites are at the initiator of the TATA-less ovo-B and ovarian tumor promoters raises the possibility that OVO proteins influence the nucleation of transcriptional pre-initiation complexes.