In Drosophila melanogaster, heterochromatin-induced silencing or position-effect variegation (PEV) of a reporter gene has provided insights into the properties of heterochromatin. Class I modifiers suppress PEV, and class II modifiers enhance PEV when the modifier gene is present in fewer than two doses. We have examined the effects of both class I and class II modifiers on four PEV mutations. These mutations include the inversions In(1)w(m4) and In(2R)bw(VDe2), which are classical chromosomal rearrangements that typify PEV mutations. The other mutations are a derivative of brown(Dominant), in which brown+ reporters are inactivated by a large block of heterochromatin, and a P[white+] transposon insertion associated with second chromosome heterochromatin. In general, we find that class I modifiers affect both classical and nonclassical PEV mutations, whereas class II modifiers affect only classical PEV mutations. We suggest that class II modifiers affect chromatin architecture in the vicinity of reporter genes, and only class I modifiers identify proteins that are potentially involved in heterochromatin formation or maintenance. In addition, our observations support a model in which there are different constraints on the process of heterochromatin-induced silencing in classical vs. nonclassical PEV mutations.