Tid1 is a human homolog of bacterial DnaJ and the Drosophila tumor suppressor Tid56 that has two alternatively spliced isoforms, Tid1-long and -short (Tid1-L and -S), which differ only at their carboxyl termini. Although Tid1 proteins localize overwhelmingly to mitochondria, published data demonstrate principally nonmitochondrial protein interactions and activities. This study was undertaken to determine whether Tid1 proteins function as mitochondrial DnaJ-like chaperones and to resolve the paradox of how proteins targeted primarily to mitochondria function in nonmitochondrial pathways. Here we demonstrate that Tid1 isoforms exhibit a conserved mitochondrial DnaJ-like function substituting for the yeast mitochondrial DnaJ-like protein Mdj1p. Like Mdj1p, Tid1 localizes to human mitochondrial nucleoids, which are large protein complexes bound to mitochondrial DNA. Unlike other DnaJs, Tid1-L and -S form heterocomplexes; both unassembled and complexed Tid1 are observed in human cells. Results demonstrate that Tid1-L has a longer residency time in the cytosol prior to mitochondrial import as compared with Tid1-S; Tid1-L is also significantly more stable in the cytosol than Tid1-S, which is rapidly degraded. The longer cytosolic residency time and the half-life of Tid1-L are explained by its interaction with cytosolic Hsc70 and potential protein substrates such as the STAT1 and STAT3 transcription factors. We show that the unique carboxyl terminus of Tid1-L is required for interaction with Hsc70 and STAT1 and -3. We propose that the association of Tid1 with chaperones and/or protein substrates in the cytosol provides a mechanism for the alternate fates and functions of Tid1 in mitochondrial and nonmitochondrial pathways.