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P element-mediated transformation has been used to investigate the regulation of expression of the sn-glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase gene of Drosophila melanogaster. A 13-kb construct containing the eight exons and associated introns, 5 kb of the 5′ region, and 3 kb downstream from the structural gene produced normal levels of enzyme activity and rescued the poor viability of flies lacking the enzyme. All the regulatory elements essential for normal enzyme expression were located in a fragment that included the exons and introns and 1-kb upstream noncoding sequence. Deletions of the 1.6-kb second intron reduced activity to 25%. Transformants with fusion constructs between the sn-glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase gene and the beta-galactosidase gene from E. coli revealed three elements that affected expression. A (CT)9 repeat element at the 5′ end of the second intron increased expression in both larvae and adults, particularly at emergence. A second regulatory element, which includes a (CT)7 repeat, was located 5′ to the TATA box and had similar effects on the gene's expression. A third, undefined, enhancer was located in the second intron, between 0.5 and 1.8 kb downstream of the translation initiation codon. This element increases enzyme activity to a similar extent in larvae and adults but has little effect when the enhancer at the 5′ end of the intron is present.