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Yeast cells show an adaptive response to a mild heat shock, resulting in thermotolerance acquisition. This is accompanied by induction of heat-shock protein (hsp) synthesis and rapid accumulation of trehalose. Genetic approaches to determine the specific role of trehalose in heat-induced thermotolerance in Saccharomyces cerevisiae have been hampered by the finding that deletion of TPS1, the gene encoding trehalose-6-phosphate synthase, causes a variety of pleiotropic effects, including inability to grow on glucose-containing media. Here, we have studied a tps1 mutant of the yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe that reportedly has no such growth defects. We show that tps1 mutants have a serious defect in heat shock-induced acquisition of thermotolerance if conditioned at highly elevated temperatures (40–42.5°C), which, in wild-type cells, prevent hsp but not trehalose synthesis. In contrast, hsp synthesis appears to become particularly important under conditions in which trehalose synthesis is either absent (in tps1 mutant strains) or not fully induced (conditioning at moderately elevated temperatures, i.e. 35°C). In addition, pka1 mutants deficient in cAMP-dependent protein kinase were examined. Unconditioned pka1 cells had low levels of trehalose but a high basal level of thermotolerance. It was found that pka1 mutant cells, contrary to wild-type cells, accumulated large amounts of trehalose, even during a 50°C treatment. pka1 tps1 double mutants lacked this ability and showed reduced intrinsic thermotolerance, indicating a particularly important role for trehalose synthesis, which takes place during the challenging heat shock.