Neurospora crassa conidiospore germlings exposed to a heat shock (30-45 C) rapidly accumulated trehalose and degraded glycogen, even in the presence of cycloheximide. This phenomenon was also rapidly reversible upon return of the cells at 30 degrees C. Trehalose accumulation at 45 degrees C demanded an exogenous source of carbon and either glucose or glycerol fulfilled such requirement. Experiments with the cyclic AMP-deficient cr-1 mutant suggested that the effects of temperature shifts on trehalose level were independent of cAMP metabolism. Cells exposed at 45 degrees C under conditions permissive for trehalose accumulation (i.e. in the presence of an assimilable carbon source) also acquired thermotolerance.