The DNA replication-related element-binding factor (DREF) regulates cell proliferation-related gene expression in Drosophila. By genetic screening, taking advantage of the rough eye phenotype of transgenic flies that express DREF in the eye discs, we identified 24 genes that suppressed and 12 genes that enhanced the rough eye phenotype when heterozygous for mutations. Five genes, HP6, pigeon, lace, X box binding protein 1 and guftagu were found to carry replication-related element (DRE) sequences in their 5'-flanking regions. Of these, the HP6 gene carries two sequences that match seven out of eight nucleotides of DRE and two additional sequences that match six out of eight nucleotides of DRE in the 5'-flanking region. Band mobility shift assays using Drosophila Kc cell nuclear extracts demonstrated DREF binding to two of these sites and chromatin immunoprecipitation using anti-DREF antibodies confirmed that this occurs in vivo. Knockdown of DREF in Drosophila S2 cells decreased the HP6 mRNA level. The results, taken together, indicate that DREF directly regulates expression of the HP6 gene. HP6 mRNA was detected throughout development by RT-PCR with highest levels in adult males. In addition, immunostaining analyses revealed colocalization of HP6 and DREF in nuclei at the apical tips in the testes.