At the heat shock temperature of 45 degrees C, there is a transient induction of the synthesis of heat shock proteins and repression of normal protein synthesis in cells of Neurospora crassa. Both conidiospores and mycelial cells resume normal protein synthesis after 60 min at high temperature. At the RNA level, however, these two developmental stages responded with different kinetics to elevated temperature. Heat shock RNAs (for hsp30 and hsp83) accumulated and declined more rapidly in spores than in mycelia, and during recovery spores accumulated mRNA that encoded a normal protein (the proteolipid subunit of the mitochondrial ATPase), whereas mycelia showed no increase in this normal RNA (for at least 120 min). Therefore, the resumption of normal protein synthesis in spores may depend upon accumulation of new mRNAs. In contrast, mycelial cells appeared to change their translational preference during continued incubation at elevated temperature, from a discrimination against normal mRNAs to a resumption of their translation into normal cellular proteins, exemplified by the ATPase proteolipid subunit whose synthesis was measured in the heat-shocked cells.