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Elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration (eCO2) often reduces nitrogen (N) content in rice plants and stimulates tillering. However, there is a general consensus that reduced N would constrain rice tillering. To resolve this contradiction, we investigated N distribution and transcriptomic changes in different rice plant organs after subjecting them to eCO2 and different N application rates. Our results showed that eCO2 significantly promoted rice tillers (by 0.6, 1.1, 1.7, and 2.1 tillers/plant at 0, 75, 150, and 225 kg N ha−1 N application rates, respectively) and more tillers were produced under higher N application rates, confirming that N availability constrained tillering in the early stages of growth. Although N content declined in the leaves (−11.0 to −20.7 mg g−1) and sheaths (−9.8 to −28.8 mg g−1) of rice plants exposed to eCO2, the N content of newly emerged tillers on plants exposed to eCO2 equaled or exceeded the N content of tillers produced under ambient CO2 conditions. Apparently, the redistribution of N within the plant per se was a critical adaptation strategy to the eCO2 condition. Transcriptomic analysis revealed that eCO2 induced less extensive alteration of gene expression than did N application. Most importantly, the expression levels of multiple N-related transporters and receptors such as nitrate transporter NRT2.3a/b and NRT1.1a/b were differentially regulated in leaf and shoot apical meristem, suggesting that multiple genes were involved in sensing the N signal and transporting N metabolites to adapt to eCO2. The redistribution of N in different organs could be a universal adaptation strategy of terrestrial plants to eCO2.