Ventral furrow formation is a key morphogenetic event during Drosophila gastrulation that leads to the internalization of mesodermal precursors. While genetic analysis has revealed the genes involved in the specification of ventral furrow cells, few of the structural proteins that act as mediators of ventral cell behavior have been identified. A comparative proteomics approach employing difference gel electrophoresis was used to identify more than fifty proteins with altered abundance levels or isoform changes in ventralized versus lateralized embryos. Curiously, the majority of protein differences between these embryos appeared well before gastrulation, only a few protein changes coincided with gastrulation, suggesting that the ventral cells are primed for cell shape change. Three proteasome subunits were found to differ between ventralized and lateralized embryos. RNAi knockdown of these proteasome subunits and time-dependent difference-proteins caused ventral furrow defects, validating the role of these proteins in ventral furrow morphogenesis.