CHilling tolereance of plants are closely correlated with the degree of fatty acid unsaturation of membrane lipids. We studied the effects of low-temperature photoinhibition on the photochemical efficiency of photosystem II in terms of fatty acid unsaturation of thylakoid membranes lipids isolated from chilling -sensitive plants and chilling -resistant ones. To directly test the chilling tolerance of photosynthetic machinery in relation to membrane lipids, we further compared wild type tobacco plants with that of transgenic tobacco plants, in which the sensitivity to chilling had been enhanced by genetic modification of fatty acid unsaturation of chloroplast membrane lipids. The transgenic tobacco plants were found to contain reduced levels of unsaturated membrane fatty acids after being transformed with cDNA for glycerol-3-phophate acyltransferase from squash. The functional integrity of photosystem II during and recovery of photosynthesis from low-temperature photoinhibition will be discussed in connection with the degree of fatty acid unsaturation of chlorophast membranes lipids.