Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades are universal signal transduction modules in eukaryotes, including yeasts, animals and plants. These protein phosphorylation cascades link extracellular stimuli to a wide range of cellular responses. In plants, MAPK cascades are involved in responses to various biotic and abiotic stresses, hormones, cell division and developmental processes. Completion of the Arabidopsis genome-sequencing project has revealed the existence of 20 MAPKs, 10 MAPK kinases and 60 MAPK kinase kinases. Here, we propose a simplified nomenclature for Arabidopsis MAPKs and MAPK kinases that might also serve as a basis for standard annotation of these gene families in all plants.