Chaperone functions mediated by the heat-shock protein (HSP) family constitute a fundamental mechanism that governs the life span of organisms. Here we investigated the chaperone activities of the mitochondrial HSP70 protein, mortalin, which is a heat-uninducible stress protein involved in immortalization and tumorigenesis. There are two mortalin alleles, mot-1 and mot-2, in mouse, encoding two distinct proteins. Whereas an overexpression of mot-1-induced senescence in NIH 3T3 cells, overexpression of mot-2 promoted their malignant properties. Here, we provide evidence that mot-1 possesses very low chaperone activity as compared to mot-2. A “lazy lid” hypothesis is proposed for their differential aging phenotypes.