tube and pelle are two of the maternally transcribed genes required for dorsal-ventral patterning of the Drosophila embryo. Females homozygous for strong alleles of tube or pelle produce embryos that lack all ventral and lateral embryonic pattern elements. By analyzing the phenotypes caused by 24 pelle and 9 tube alleles, we have defined characteristic features of the two genes, including the extremely variable phenotypes of a number of tube alleles and the antimorphic character of a number of pelle alleles. Double mutant females carrying dominant ventralizing alleles of Toll and dorsalizing alleles of tube or pelle produce dorsalized embryos, suggesting that tube and pelle act downstream of the membrane protein Toll in the signaling pathway that defines the embryonic dorsal-ventral pattern. Both tube and pelle are also important zygotically for survival: at least 30% of the zygotes lacking either tube or pelle die before adult stages, while 90-95% of tube- pelle- double mutant zygotes die. We discuss the phenotypes of tube-pelle double mutants in the context of whether the two proteins interact directly.