Immunoprecipitation of unactivated avian progesterone receptor results in the copurification of hsp90, hsp70, and three additional proteins, p54, p50, and p23. p23 is also present in immunoaffinity-purified hsp90 complexes along with hsp70 and another protein, p60. Antibody and cDNA probes for p23 were prepared in an effort to elucidate the significance and function of this protein. Antibodies to p23 detect similar levels of p23 in all tissues tested and cross-react with a protein of the same size in mice, rabbits, guinea pigs, humans, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, indicating that p23 is a conserved protein of broad tissue distribution. These antibodies were used to screen a chicken brain cDNA library, resulting in the isolation of a 468-bp partial cDNA clone encoding a sequence containing four sequences corresponding to peptide fragments isolated from chicken p23. This partial clone was subsequently used to isolate a full-length human cDNA clone. The human cDNA encodes a protein of 160 amino acids that does not show homology to previously identified proteins. The chicken and human cDNAs are 88% identical at the DNA level and 96.3% identical at the protein level. p23 is a highly acidic phosphoprotein with an aspartic acid-rich carboxy-terminal domain. Bacterially overexpressed human p23 was used to raise several monoclonal antibodies to p23. These antibodies specifically immunoprecipitate p23 in complex with hsp90 in all tissues tested and can be used to immunoaffinity isolate progesterone receptor complexes from chicken oviduct cytosol.