A chimeric gene consisting of the coding sequence for chloroplastic Fe superoxide dismutase (FeSOD) from Arabidopsis thaliana, coupled to the chloroplast targeting sequence from the pea ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase small subunit, was expressed in Nicotiana tabacum cv Petit Havana SR1. Expression of the transgenic FeSOD protected both the plasmalemma and photosystem II against superoxide generated during illumination of leaf discs impregnated with methyl viologen. By contrast, overproduction of a mitochondrial MnSOD from Nicotiana plumbaginifolia in the chloroplasts of cv SR1 protected only the plasmalemma, but not photosystem II, against methyl viologen (L. Slooten, K. Capiau, W. Van Camp, M. Van Montagu, C.Sybesma, D. Inze  Plant Physiol 107: 737-750). The difference in effectiveness correlates with different membrane affinities of the transgenic FeSOD and MnSOD. Overproduction of FeSOD does not confer tolerance to H2O2, singlet oxygen, chilling-induced photoinhibition in leaf disc assays, or to salt stress at the whole plant level. In nontransgenic plants, salt stress led to a 2- to 3-fold increase in activity, on a protein basis, of FeSOD, cytosolic and chloroplastic Cu/ZnSOD, ascorbate peroxidase, dehydroascorbate reductase, and glutathione reductase. In FeSOD-overproducing plants under salt stress, the induction of cytosolic and chloroplastic Cu/ZnSOD was suppressed, whereas induction of a water-soluble chloroplastic ascorbate peroxidase isozyme was promoted.