The role of Rubisco activase in steady-state and non-steady-state photosynthesis was analyzed in wild-type (Oryza sativa) and transgenic rice that expressed different amounts of Rubisco activase. Below 25°C, the Rubisco activation state and steady-state photosynthesis were only affected when Rubisco activase was reduced by more than 70%. However, at 40°C, smaller reductions in Rubisco activase content were linked to a reduced Rubisco activation state and steady-state photosynthesis. As a result, overexpression of maize Rubisco activase in rice did not lead to an increase of the Rubisco activation state, nor to an increase in photosynthetic rate below 25°C, but had a small stimulatory effect at 40°C. On the other hand, the rate at which photosynthesis approached the steady state following an increase in light intensity was rapid in Rubisco activase-overexpressing plants, intermediate in the wild-type, and slowest in antisense plants at any leaf temperature. In Rubisco activase-overexpressing plants, Rubisco activation state at low light was maintained at higher levels than in the wild-type. Thus, rapid regulation by Rubisco activase following an increase in light intensity and/or maintenance of a high Rubisco activation state at low light would result in a rapid increase in Rubisco activation state and photosynthetic rate following an increase in light intensity. It is concluded that Rubisco activase plays an important role in the regulation of non-steady-state photosynthesis at any leaf temperature and, to a lesser extent, of steady-state photosynthesis at high temperature.