Despite microbes' key roles in driving biogeochemical cycles, the mechanism of microbe-mediated feedbacks to global changes remains elusive. Recently, soil transplant has been successfully established as a proxy to simulate climate changes, as the current trend of global warming coherently causes range shifts toward higher latitudes. Four years after southward soil transplant over large transects in China, we found that microbial functional diversity was increased, in addition to concurrent changes in microbial biomass, soil nutrient content and functional processes involved in the nitrogen cycle. However, soil transplant effects could be overridden by maize cropping, which was attributed to a negative interaction. Strikingly, abundances of nitrogen and carbon cycle genes were increased by these field experiments simulating global change, coinciding with higher soil nitrification potential and carbon dioxide (CO2) efflux. Further investigation revealed strong correlations between carbon cycle genes and CO2 efflux in bare soil but not cropped soil, and between nitrogen cycle genes and nitrification. These findings suggest that changes of soil carbon and nitrogen cycles by soil transplant and cropping were predictable by measuring microbial functional potentials, contributing to a better mechanistic understanding of these soil functional processes and suggesting a potential to incorporate microbial communities in greenhouse gas emission modeling.