We expressed the AtMt2b and AtHMA4 genes under the 35S cauliflower mosaic virus promoter simultaneously in Nicotiana tabacum (SR1), using leaf disc transformation. A single AtMT2b tobacco T2 line was used for re-transformation with AtHMA4 to obtain the double transformant. Cadmium (Cd) and zinc (Zn) tolerance, uptake and translocation were measured in the double transformant, and compared to untransformed ('wild type') tobacco and single gene transformants. The double transformant exhibited enhanced Cd-tolerance, enhanced Cd and Zn root to shoot transport, but unaltered Zn tolerance and Cd and Zn uptake, compared with wild type.The single transformant lines did not show significant phenotypes. Our results suggest that the phenotypes of the double transformant are due to synergistic interaction between the transgenes. Except for Cd tolerance, the phenotypes were moderate for Cd and Zn root to shoot transport, which may be due to use of the 35S promotor, resulting in incorrect tissue-specificity. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.