We cloned the complementary deoxyribonucleic acid (cDNA) of the heat shock cognate 70 (hsc70) gene of tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon). It was 2207 bp long and included a 1959-bp coding region, a 40-bp flanking region at the 5′ end, and a 208-bp flanking region at the 3′ end. The deduced, 652–amino acid sequence had a molecular mass of 71 481 Da and an estimated isoelectric point (pI) of 5.2. Based on phylogenetic analysis, the gene is clustered with the hsc70 proteins of invertebrates and vertebrates. In native gel electrophoresis, recombinant P monodon hsc70 expressed in an Escherichia coli system is tightly associated with carboxymethylated α-lactalbumin (CMLA), which indicates that hsc70 probably functions as a chaperone. In an in vitro adenosine triphosphatase assay, recombinant hsc70 hydrolyzed adenosine triphosphate to adenosine-5′-diphosphate and increased hydrolysis activity by binding to unfolded peptide, CMLA. In situ hybridization using an antisense riboprobe revealed that the hsc70 gene was active in most tissues of unstressed shrimp. The expression of hsc70 messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) in hemocytes increased 2- to 3-fold at the first hour after shrimp experienced heat shock and 0.5-hour recovery. Hsc70 mRNA decreased gradually to the background level. Cloning and characterizing the P monodon hsc70 gene is the first, crucial step in studying the relationship of heat shock proteins with the stress or immune responses of shrimp.