2-DE followed by MALDI-TOF was used to purify and identify a Drosophila protein (catalogued as SSP 6002) that showed marked differences in the level of expression in the different imaginal discs of third instar larvae. Fingerprinting showed that the spot of interest was the heat shock 23 polypeptide (hsp23). We characterized the kinetics of its induction by heat shock in wing imaginal discs and raised an antiserum against the denatured protein, which recognizes a single unphosphorylated spot on 2-D gels. The difference in its expression in discs was corroborated by analyzing its level in the imaginal discs of postbithorax mutants. We also investigated the developmental expression of hsp23 in imaginal discs with antiserum raised against the native protein. Its spatial and temporal pattern of expression is related to the proneural territories and maintained even under heat shock conditions. In addition, its pattern of expression is regulated by transcription factors and signaling pathways (notch and epidermal growth factor receptor) involved in proneural specification.