We have characterized several heat-shock-induced genes in rice (Oryza sativa L.) and compared their expression under a variety of conditions. Three of these genes, which are analogs of the hsp82/90 family, lie within a cloned 18-kilobase (kb) region of the genome. The middle member of this cluster, designated hsp82B, has been fully sequenced. The gene uses a promoter containing six putative heat-shock elements as well as several unusual sequence motifs including a stretch of 11 thymidines alternating with 11 adenosines. The mRNA for this gene reaches its highest relative level of expression within 120 min after plants are shifted to 42 degrees C; no other conditions induce this gene. By contrast, we found that during heat stress the expression of hsp70 correlates well with increases in internal ion concentrations, and can also be induced by excess salt or ethanol at normal growth temperatures. These results appear to indicate that whereas hsp70 is induced by all stresses that lead to protein denaturation-including heat stress-HSP82 mRNA accumulates only upon heat stress.