A duplicated locus encoding the major heat shock-induced protein HSP70 is located in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class III region 92 kilobases (kb) telomeric to the C2 gene. Nucleotide sequence analysis of the two intronless genes, HSP70-1 and HSP70-2, has shown that they encode an identical protein product of 641 amino acids. A third intronless gene, HSP70-Hom, has also been identified 4 kb telomeric to the HSP70-1 gene. This encodes a more basic protein of 641 amino acids which has 90% sequence similarity with HSP70-1. In order to investigate the expression of the three (MHC)-linked HSP70 genes individually by northern blot analysis, we have isolated locus-specific probes from the 3' untranslated regions of the genes. The HSP70-1 and HSP70-2 genes have been shown to be expressed at high levels as a approximately 2.4 kb mRNA in cells heat-shocked at 42 degrees C. HSP70-1 is also expressed constitutively at very low levels. The HSP70-Hom gene, which has no heat shock consensus sequence in its 5' flanking sequence, is expressed as a approximately 3 kb mRNA at low levels both constitutively and following heat shock.