Dosage compensation in Drosophila is the mechanism by which X-linked gene expression is made equal in males and females. Proper regulation of this process is critical to the survival of both sexes. Males must turn the male-specific lethal (msl)-mediated pathway of dosage compensation on and females must keep it off. The msl2 gene is the primary target of negative regulation in females. Preventing production of MSL2 protein is sufficient to prevent dosage compensation; however, ectopic expression of MSL2 protein in females is not sufficient to induce an insurmountable level of dosage compensation, suggesting that an additional component is limiting in females. A candidate for this limiting factor is MSL1, because the amount of MSL1 protein in females is reduced compared to males. We have identified two levels of negative regulation of msl1 in females. The predominant regulation is at the level of protein stability, while a second regulatory mechanism functions at the level of protein synthesis. Overcoming these control mechanisms by overexpressing both MSL1 and MSL2 in females results in 100% female-specific lethality.