Four cDNA clones representing mRNAs whose levels were affected by a photoperiod that induces flowering in Pharbitis nil were isolated by a differential hybridization screening procedure. The level of mRNAs represented by three clones (12L, 15L, and 17L) increased following a photoperiod that induces flowering and that represented by the fourth clone (clone 27) increased under conditions in which flowering was inhibited. DNA sequence analysis showed that one cDNA, clone 17L, is homologous to members of the 83- to 90-kD heat-shock protein (hsp) gene family. The corresponding gene, hsp83A, was isolated and its DNA sequence was determined. hsp83A encodes a protein that exhibits 70% amino acid identity with Drosophila melanogaster HSP83. The P. nil Hsp83A gene contains two introns within the coding region. hsp83A mRNA was not detectable in cotyledons of plants grown in continuous light, but its level increased transiently following a 14-h dark period and reached a maximum 2 h after the lights were turned on. A dramatic increase in the level of Hsp83A mRNA was also found 2 h after an end-of-day dark treatment. Genomic Southern blot analysis demonstrated that the P. nil Hsp83-90 gene family consists of at least six members, one of which appears to be constitutively expressed in the light.