Previous work has demonstrated a role for the Drosophila EGF receptor (Torpedo/DER) and its ligand, Gurken, in the determination of anterioposterior and dorsoventral axes of the follicle cells and oocyte. The roles of DER in establishing the polarity of the follicle cells were examined further, by following the expression of DER-target genes. One class of genes (e.g. kekon) is induced by the DER pathway at all stages. Broad expression of kekon at the stage in which the follicle cells migrate posteriorly over the oocyte, demonstrates the capacity of the pathway to pattern all follicle cells except the ventral-most rows. This may provide the spatial coordinates for the ventral-most follicle cell fates. A second group of target genes (e.g. rhomboid (rho)) is induced only at later stages of oogenesis, and may require additional inputs by signals emanating from the anterior, stretch follicle cells. The function of Rho was analyzed by ectopic expression in the stretch follicle cells, and shown to induce a non-autonomous dorsalizing activity that is independent of Gurken. Rho thus appears to be involved in processing a DER ligand in the follicle cells, to pattern the egg chamber and allow persistent activation of the DER pathway during formation of the dorsal appendages.