Transgenic tobacco expressing Vitreoscilla hemoglobin exhibits enhanced growth and altered metabolite production

Nat Biotechnol. 1997 Mar;15(3):244-7. doi: 10.1038/nbt0397-244.


The gene for Vitreoscilla hemoglobin (VHb) has been introduced and expressed in Nicotiana tabaccum (tobacco). Transgenic tobacco plants expressing VHb exhibited enhanced growth, on average 80-100% more dry weight after 35 days of growth compared to wild-type controls. Furthermore, germination time is reduced from 6-8 days for wild-type tobacco to 3-4 days and the growth phase from germination to flowering was 3-5 days shorter for the VHb-expressing transgenes. Transgenic plants contained, on average, 30-40% more chlorophyll and 34% more nicotine than controls. VHb expression also resulted in an altered distribution of secondary metabolites: In the trangenic tobacco plants anabasine content was decreased 80% relative to control plants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anabasine / biosynthesis
  • Chlorophyll / biosynthesis
  • Gram-Negative Aerobic Bacteria / genetics*
  • Hemoglobins / genetics*
  • Nicotine / biosynthesis
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Tobacco / genetics*
  • Tobacco / growth & development
  • Tobacco / metabolism


  • Hemoglobins
  • Chlorophyll
  • Nicotine
  • Anabasine