Putative high-affinity nitrate (NO3-) transporter genes, designated Nrt2;1At and Nrt2;2At, were isolated from Arabidopsis thaliana by RT-PCR using degenerate primers. The genes shared 86% and 89% identity at the amino acid and nucleotide levels, respectively, while their proteins shared 30-73% identities with other eukaryotic high-affinity NO3- transporters. Both genes were induced by NO3-, but Nrt2;1At gene expression was not apparent in 2- and 5-day-old plants. By 10 days, and thereafter, Nrt2;1At gene expression in roots was substantially higher than for the Nrt2;2At gene. Root Nrt2;1At expression levels were strongly correlated with inducible high-affinity 13NO3- influx into intact roots under several treatment conditions. The use of inhibitors of N assimilation indicated that downregulation of Nrt2;1At expression was mediated by NH4+, gln and other amino acids.