vasa (vas) is transcribed earliest among reported genes expressed in the germ-line progenitors, or pole cells, in Drosophila melanogaster embryos. Its expression is detected in the germ-line cells throughout their development, making vas expression a useful marker for the establishment of germ-line fate. In the present report, it is shown that maternal Nos and Pum are required for normal expression of vas in pole cells. First, expression of enhancer-trap marker BC69, which reflects vas expression, is promoted by maternal Nos and Pum. Second, expression of vas mRNA in pole cells is promoted by maternal Nos and Pum. Third, pole cell transplantation experiments reveal that maternal Nos and Pum are required autonomously in pole cells for proper expression of vas. Finally, Nos and Pum are dispensable for vas expression in oogenesis, although they are expressed zygotically in adult ovaries. These observations show that germ-line-specific vas expression is promoted by autonomous function of maternal Nos and Pum in the germ-line progenitors during embryogenesis, and is regulated differentially in embryogenesis and oogenesis..