Heat stress is an obvious hazard, and mechanisms to recover from thermal damage, largely unknown as of yet, have evolved in all organisms. We have recently shown that a marker protein in the ER of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, denatured by exposure of cells to 50 degrees C after preconditioning at 37 degrees C, was reactivated by an ATP-dependent machinery, when the cells were returned to physiological temperature 24 degrees C. Here we show that refolding of the marker enzyme Hsp150Delta-beta-lactamase, inactivated and aggregated by the 50 degrees C treatment, required a novel ER-located homologue of the Hsp70 family, Lhs1p. In the absence of Lhs1p, Hsp150Delta-beta-lactamase failed to be solubilized and reactivated and was slowly degraded. Coimmunoprecipitation experiments suggested that Lhs1p was somehow associated with heat-denatured Hsp150Delta- beta-lactamase, whereas no association with native marker protein molecules could be detected. Similar findings were obtained for a natural glycoprotein of S. cerevisiae, pro-carboxypeptidase Y (pro-CPY). Lhs1p had no significant role in folding or secretion of newly synthesized Hsp150Delta-beta-lactamase or pro-CPY, suggesting that the machinery repairing heat-damaged proteins may have specific features as compared to chaperones assisting de novo folding. After preconditioning and 50 degrees C treatment, cells lacking Lhs1p remained capable of protein synthesis and secretion for several hours at 24 degrees C, but only 10% were able to form colonies, as compared to wild-type cells. We suggest that Lhs1p is involved in a novel function operating in the yeast ER, refolding and stabilization against proteolysis of heatdenatured protein. Lhs1p may be part of a fundamental heat-resistant survival machinery needed for recovery of yeast cells from severe heat stress.