Photosynthetic carbon metabolism was investigated in antisense Arabidopsis lines with decreased expression of sucrose phosphate synthase (SPS) and cytosolic fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase (cFBPase). In the light, triose phosphates are exported from the chloroplast and converted to sucrose via cFBPase and SPS. At night, starch is degraded to glucose, exported and converted to sucrose via SPS. cFBPase therefore lies upstream and SPS downstream of the point at which the pathways for sucrose synthesis in the day and night converge. Decreased cFBPase expression led to inhibition of sucrose synthesis; accumulation of phosphorylated intermediates; Pi-limitation of photosynthesis; and stimulation of starch synthesis. The starch was degraded to maintain higher levels of sugars and a higher rate of sucrose export during the night. This resembles the response in other species when expression of enzymes in the upper part of the sucrose biosynthesis pathway is reduced. Decreased expression of SPS inhibited sucrose synthesis, but phosphorylated intermediates did not accumulate and carbon partitioning was not redirected towards starch. Sugar levels and sucrose export was decreased during the night as well as during the day. Although ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate regeneration and photosynthesis were inhibited, the PGA/triose-P ratio remained low and the ATP/ADP ratio high, showing that photosynthesis was not limited by the rate at which Pi was recycled during end-product synthesis. Two novel responses counteracted the decrease in SPS expression and explain why phosphorylated intermediates did not accumulate, and why allocation was not altered in the antisense SPS lines. Firstly, a threefold decrease of PPi and a shift of the UDP-glucose/hexose phosphate ratio favoured sucrose synthesis and prevented the accumulation of phosphorylated intermediates. Secondly, there was no increase of AGPase activity relative to cFBPase activity, which would prevent a shift in carbon allocation towards starch synthesis. These responses are presumably triggered when sucrose synthesis is decreased in the night, as well as by day.