Abstract Three full-length cytosol small heat shock protein (sHSP) genes, including two class I sHSP (CI sHSP) and one class II sHSP (CII sHSP) cDNAs, termed Ps-CI sHSP1, Ps-CI sHSP2 and Ps-CII sHSP1 respectively, were isolated and characterized from plum fruit at harvest. Their expression in relation to heat shock and cold acclimation-induced chilling tolerance were investigated. Heat shock treatment by dipping the fruit in water at 55 °C hot for 2 min and cold acclimation by conditioning the fruit at 8 °C for 5 d prior to storage at 2 °C could effectively reduce malondialdehyde (MDA) content and alleviate chilling injury. Furthermore, accumulation of Ps-CII sHSP1 mRNA transcripts in the fruit during the subsequent storage at 2 °C was remarkably enhanced by heat shock and cold acclimation treatments. These data suggest that heat shock and cold acclimation treatments induced the expression of Ps-CII sHSP1, which may be involved in chilling tolerance of the fruit caused by these treatments.