Heat shock transcription factor 1 (HSF1) is the main regulator of the stress response that triggers the transcription of several genes encoding heat shock proteins (Hsps). Hsps act as molecular chaperones involved in protein folding, stability, and trafficking. HSF1 is highly expressed in oocytes and Hsf1 knock-out in mice revealed that in the absence of stress this factor plays an important role in female reproduction. We previously reported that Hsf1(-/-) females produce oocytes but no viable embryos. Consequently, we asked whether oocytes require HSF1 to regulate a particular set of Hsps necessary for them to develop. We find that Hsp90 alpha (Hspaa1) is the major HSF1-dependent chaperone inasmuch as Hsf1 knock-out resulted in Hsp90-depleted oocytes. These oocytes exhibited delayed germinal vesicle breakdown (or G(2)/M transition), partial meiosis I block, and defective asymmetrical division. To probe the role of Hsp90 alpha in this meiotic syndrome, we analyzed meiotic maturation in wildtype oocytes treated with a specific inhibitor of Hsp90, 17-allylamino-17-demethoxy-geldanamycin, and observed similar defects. At the molecular level we showed that, together with these developmental anomalies, CDK1 and MAPK, key meiotic kinases, were significantly disturbed. Thus, our data demonstrate that HSF1 is a maternal transcription factor essential for normal progression of meiosis.