We have investigated the induction of heat shock proteins (HSPs) in mice infected with vaccinia virus. Vaccinia virus replicates to high levels in the ovaries of infected mice and causes a significant inhibition of host cell DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis. Many HSPs are constitutively expressed in murine ovarian tissue at low levels, consistent with their obligatory role in normal physiological events. In contrast with these events, HSP expression was augmented in virus-infected mouse ovaries 6 days postinfection. In particular, there was a dramatic increase in the expression of a protein identified as the inducible 72-kDa HSP. Analysis of cellular mRNA confirmed this protein to be the major mouse inducible HSP70 and demonstrated its presence within virus-infected cells. Hence, we have demonstrated the expression of stress proteins during poxvirus infection in vivo.