TP5, a P element inserted in the telomere-associated sequences of the X chromosome, represses the excision of other P elements in the germ line through a combination of maternal and zygotic effects. The maternal component of this repression is impaired by heterozygous mutations in the aubergine and Suppressor of variegation 205 genes; one mutation in the piwi gene also appears to impair repression. In the female germ line, the level of TP5 mRNA is increased by these impairing mutations. The impairing aubergine and piwi mutations also increase the level of germ-line mRNA from CP, a transgene that encodes the P-element transposase; however, the Suppressor of variegation 205 mutation does not. These findings are discussed in terms of a model of P-element regulation that involves post-transcriptional and chromatin re-organizing events mediated by maternally transmitted small RNAs derived from the telomeric P element.