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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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.


  • Niklas Holmberg
  • G Lilius
  • James E Bailey
  • L Bülow
External organisations
  • Lund University
  • ETH Zürich
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Microbiology in the medical area
  • Cell and Molecular Biology


  • Anabasine, Chlorophyll, Gram-Negative Aerobic Bacteria, Hemoglobins, Nicotine, Plants, Genetically Modified, Plants, Toxic, Tobacco
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-7
Number of pages4
JournalNature Biotechnology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1997 Mar
Publication categoryResearch