The current consensus is that environmental electrophiles activate redox signal transduction pathways through covalent modification of sensor proteins with reactive thiol groups at low concentrations, while they cause cell damage at higher concentrations. We previously exposed human carcinoma A431 cells to the atmospheric electrophile 1,4-naphthoquinone (1,4-NQ) and found that heat shock protein 90 (HSP90), a negative regulator of heat shock factor 1 (HSF1), was a target of 1,4-NQ. In the study presented here, we determined whether 1,4-NQ activates HSF1. We also examined whether such redox signaling could be regulated by nucleophilic sulfur species. Exposure of A431 cells to 1,4-NQ covalently modified cellular HSP90, resulting in repression of the association between HSF1 with HSP90, thereby enhancing HSF1 translocation into the nuclei. Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry analysis with recombinant HSP90 revealed that the modifications site were Cys412 and Cys564. We found that HSF1 activation mediated by 1,4-NQ upregulated downstream genes, such as HSPA6. HSF1 knockdown accelerated 1,4-NQ-mediated cytotoxicity in the cells. While simultaneous treatment with reactive persulfide and polysulfide, Na2S2 and Na2S4, blocked 1,4-NQ-dependent protein modification and HSF1 activation in A431 cells, the knockdown of Cys persulfide producing enzymes cystathionine β-synthase (CBS) and/or cystathionine γ-lyase (CSE) enhanced these phenomena. 1,4-NQ-thiol adduct and 1,4-NQ-S-1,4-NQ adduct were produced during the enzymatic reaction of recombinant CSE in the presence of 1,4-NQ. The results suggest that activation of the HSP90–HSF1 signal transduction pathway mediated by 1,4-NQ protects cells against 1,4-NQ and that per/polysulfides can diminish the reactivity of 1,4-NQ by forming sulfur adducts.