The 25-kDa heat-shock protein (Hsp25) is a member of the small heat-shock protein family but its function remains largely unknown. In the present study we examined the expression and cellular localization of Hsp25 mRNA in mice under physiological, unstressed conditions using Northern blot and in situ hybridization analyses with specific oligonucleotide probes. At the organ level, high amounts of Hsp25 mRNA were detected in the oesophagus, skin, eye, stomach, lung and urinary bladder, with moderate amounts in the heart, skeletal muscle, aorta, adrenal gland, ovary, testis, uterus, large intestine, and thymus. At the cellular level, intense to moderate signals for Hsp25 mRNA were localized in the muscle cells of smooth, heart and skeletal types, in the epithelial cells of stratified squamous and transitional types and of the oviduct, in the steroid endocrine cells of the adrenal cortex and corpus luteum, as well as in the spermatocytes of the testis. In contrast, the signal was scarcely detectable in the nervous tissues, lymphatic tissues, the columnar epithelial cells of the digestive tract, or the parenchymal cells of the liver, pancreas and kidney. These results suggest some significant role for Hsp25 in distinct populations of mouse cells under physiological conditions.