The effect of elevated [CO2] on biomass, nitrate, ammonium, amino acids, protein, nitrate reductase activity, carbohydrates, photosynthesis, the activities of Rubisco and six other Calvin cycle enzymes, and transcripts for Rubisco small subunit, Rubisco activase, chlorophyll a binding protein, NADP-glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, aldolase, transketolase, plastid fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase and ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase was investigated in tobacco growing on 2, 6 and 20 m M nitrate and 1, 3 and 10 m M ammonium nitate. (i) The growth stimulation in elevated [CO2] was attenuated in intermediate and abolished in low nitrogen. (ii) Elevated [CO2] led to a decline of nitrate, ammonium, amino acids especially glutamine, and protein in low nitrogen and a dramatic decrease in intermediate nitrogen, but not in high nitrogen. (iii) Elevated [CO2] led to a decrease of nitrate reductase activity in low, intermediate and high ammonium nitrate and in intermediate nitrate, but not in high nitrate. (iii) At low nitrogen, starch increased relative to sugars. Elevated [CO2] exaggerated this shift. ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase transcript increased in low nitrogen, and in elevated [CO2]. (iv) In high nitrogen, sugars rose in elevated [CO2], but there was no acclimation of photosynthetic rate, only a small decrease of Rubisco and no decrease of other Calvin cycle enzymes, and no decrease of the corresponding transcripts. In lower nitrogen, there was a marked acclimation of photosynthetic rate and a general decrease of Calvin cycle enzymes, even though sugar levels did not increase. The decreased activities were due to a general decrease of leaf protein. The corresponding transcripts did not decrease except at very low nitrogen. (v) It is concluded that many of the effects of elevated [CO2] on nitrate metabolism, photosynthate allocation, photosynthetic acclimation and growth are due to a shift in nitrogen status.