Within the Drosophila embryo, tube and the protein kinase pelle transduce an intracellular signal generated by the transmembrane receptor Toll. This signal directs import of the rel-related protein dorsal into ventral and ventrolateral nuclei, thereby establishing dorsoventral polarity. We show by immunolocalization that tube protein associates with the plasma membrane during interphase. We also find that tube sequences required for signaling interact with pelle in a yeast two-hybrid assay. We demonstrate that fusion of the pelle catalytic domain to the transmembrane receptor torso is sufficient to induce ventral fates; this activity is independent of Toll or tube. Lastly, we find that fusion of the tube protein to torso also induces ventral fates, but only in the presence of functional pelle. We propose a model wherein tube activates pelle by recruiting it to the plasma membrane, thereby propagating the axis-determining signal.