The heat shock (HS) response is the major cellular defense mechanism against acute exposure to environmental stresses. The hallmark of the HS response, which is conserved in all eukaryotes, is the rapid and massive induction of expression of a set of cytoprotective genes. Most of the induction occurs at the level of transcription. The master regulator, heat shock transcription factor (HSF, or HSF1 in vertebrates), is responsible for the induction of HS gene transcription in response to elevated temperature. Under normal conditions HSF is present in the cell as an inactive monomer. During HS, HSF trimerizes and binds to a consensus sequence in the promoter of HS genes, stimulating their transcription by up to 200-fold. We have shown that a large, noncoding RNA, HSR1, and the translation elongation factor eEF1A form a complex with HSF during HS and are required for its activation.