Translatable mRNAs from two tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) cultivars differing in chilling tolerance were compared after 16 days of chilling at 4C and after return to 20C for 1 and 5 days. Before chilling, the translation products, resolved by 2D NEPHGE, showed significant differences between more tolerant `New York 280' (NY) and less tolerant `Early Cherry' (EC). In NY, chilling reduced the level of five to 10 mRNAs and enhanced or induced that of several other mRNAs. After transfer to 20C, the trend was progressively reversed. Changes in the levels of two low-molecular-weight basic peptides were most noticeable. One, absent in NY before chilling, was strongly expressed after chilling and 24 h after transfer to 20C, but disappeared 5 days after transfer. The level of this peptide increased slightly in EC at low temperature and was maintained after transfer to 20C. The level of the other, high in NY before chilling, was sharply reduced after chilling. In contrast, the level of this polypeptide was low in EC under all treatments.