The complete dnaK operon of Listeria monocytogenes was isolated by chromosome walking using the previously cloned dnaK gene as a probe. Molecular analysis of the locus identified 6 genes in the order hrcA, grpE, dnaK, dnaJ, orf35, and orf29. Primer extension analysis revealed 3 transcription start sites—S1, S2, and S3—upstream of the hrcA, grpE, and dnaJ, respectively. The transcription from S1 was heat inducible. Analysis of the sequences revealed the consensus promoter sequences of gram-positive bacteria, P1 and P2 upstream of the hrcA and dnaJ, respectively. The hrcA gene and a regulatory sequence, designated CIRCE (controlling inverted repeat of chaperone expression), play a role in the regulation of expression of the dnaK locus in response to heat shock in several gram-positive bacteria. Their presence upstream of the dnaK locus in L monocytogenes suggested a similar regulatory mechanism for the transcription initiated at the promoter, P1. Northern blot analysis led to the detection of 4 mRNA species of 4.9 kb, 3.6 kb, 3.6 kb, and 1.2 kb; the first 2 species were heat inducible. The current results indicate that 4 distinct transcripts directed by 3 promoters are involved in the expression of the dnaK operon of L. monocytogenes.