Heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) is a molecular chaperone providing tolerance to heat and other challenges at the cellular and organismal levels. We sequenced a genomic cluster containing three hsp70 family genes linked with major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class III region from an extremely heat tolerant animal, camel (Camelus dromedarius). Two hsp70 family genes comprising the cluster contain heat shock elements (HSEs), while the third gene lacks HSEs and should not be induced by heat shock. Comparison of the camel hsp70 cluster with the corresponding regions from several mammalian species revealed similar organization of genes forming the cluster. Specifically, the two heat inducible hsp70 genes are arranged in tandem, while the third constitutively expressed hsp70 family member is present in inverted orientation. Comparison of regulatory regions of hsp70 genes from camel and other mammals demonstrates that transcription factor matches with highest significance are located in the highly conserved 250-bp upstream region and correspond to HSEs followed by NF-Y and Sp1 binding sites. The high degree of sequence conservation leaves little room for putative camel-specific regulatory elements. Surprisingly, RT-PCR and 5'/3'-RACE analysis demonstrated that all three hsp70 genes are expressed in camel's muscle and blood cells not only after heat shock, but under normal physiological conditions as well, and may account for tolerance of camel cells to extreme environmental conditions. A high degree of evolutionary conservation observed for the hsp70 cluster always linked with MHC locus in mammals suggests an important role of such organization for coordinated functioning of these vital genes.