Exposure of cells to stressful conditions elicits a highly conserved defense mechanism termed the heat shock response, resulting in the production of specialized proteins which protect the cells against the deleterious effects of stress. The heat shock response involves not only a widespread inhibition of the ongoing transcription and activation of heat shock genes, but also important changes in post-transcriptional processing. In particular, a blockade in splicing and other post-transcriptional processing has been described following stress in different organisms, together with an altered spatial distribution of the proteins involved in these activities. However, the specific mechanisms that regulate these activities under conditions of stress are little understood. Non-coding RNA molecules are increasingly known to be involved in the regulation of various activities in the cell, ranging from chromatin structure to splicing and RNA degradation. In this review, we consider two non-coding RNAs, the hsr(omega) transcripts in Drosophila and the sat III transcripts in human cells, that seem to be involved in the dynamics of RNA-processing factors in normal and/or stressed cells, and thus provide new paradigms for understanding transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulations in normal and stressed cells.