The Drosophila Pax6 homolog twin of eyeless (toy) is so far the first zygotically expressed gene involved in eye morphogenesis in Drosophila. The study of its expression during embryogenesis is therefore informative of the initial events of eye development in Drosophila. We have analyzed how the initial expression domain of toy at cellular blastoderm is regulated. We show that the three maternal patterning systems active in the cephalic region (the anterior, terminal and dorsal-ventral systems) cooperate with zygotically activated gap genes to shape the initial expression domain of toy. Whereas Bicoid, Dorsal and Torso signaling synergistically act as activators, Hunchback, Knirps and Decapentaplegic act as repressors.