Induction of Drosophila hsp70 protein was detected during aging in flight muscle and leg muscle in the absence of heat shock, using an hsp70-specific monoclonal antibody, and in transgenic flies containing hsp70-beta-galactosidase fusion protein reporter constructs. While hsp70 and reporter proteins were induced during aging, hsp70 message levels were not, indicating that aging-specific induction is primarily posttranscriptional. In contrast, hsp22 and hsp23 were found to be induced during aging at the RNA level and with a broader tissue distribution. The same muscle-specific hsp70 reporter expression pattern was observed in young flies mutant for catalase ( H2O2:H2O2 oxidoreductase, EC 18.104.22.168). In catalase (cat) hypomorphic lines where flies survived to older ages, the time course of hsp70 reporter expression during aging was accelerated, and the initial and ultimate levels of expression were increased. The hsp70 reporter was also induced in young flies mutant for copper/zinc superoxide dismutase ( superoxide:superoxide oxidoreductase, EC 22.214.171.124). Taken together, the results suggest that aging-specific hsp70 expression may be a result of oxidative damage.