Anabaena variabilis fixes nitrogen under aerobic growth conditions in differentiated cells called heterocysts using either a Mo nitrogenase or a V nitrogenase. The nifH1 gene, which encodes the dinitrogenase reductase of the Mo nitrogenase that is expressed only in heterocysts, is cotranscribed with nifD1 and nifK1, which together encode the Mo dinitrogenase. These genes were expressed in the presence or absence of molybdate or vanadate. The vnfH gene, which encodes the dinitrogenase reductase of the V nitrogenase, was located about 23 kb from vnfDGK, which encodes the V dinitrogenase; however, like vnfDGK, vnfH was expressed only in the absence of molybdate, with or without vanadate. Like nifH1, the vnfH gene was expressed exclusively in heterocysts under either aerobic or anaerobic growth conditions and thus is under the control of developmental factors. The vnfH mutant was able to grow diazotrophically using the V nitrogenase, because NifH1, which was also made in cells starved for molybdate, could substitute for VnfH. Under oxic conditions, the nifH1 mutant grew in the absence of molybdate but not in its presence, using VnfH, while the nifH1 vnfH double mutant did not grow diazotrophically with or without molybdate or vanadate. A nifH1 mutant that expressed nifDK and vnfH but not vnfDGK was able to grow and fix nitrogen normally, indicating that VnfH could substitute for NifH in the Mo nitrogenase and that these dinitrogenase reductases are not involved in determining the metal specificity of the Mo nitrogenase or the V nitrogenase.