The effects of ascorbate (ASC) and dehydroascorbate (DHA) on cell proliferation were examined in the tobacco Bright Yellow 2 (TBY-2) cell line to test the hypothesis that the ASC-DHA pair is a specific regulator of cell division. The hypothesis was tested by measuring the levels of ASC and DHA or another general redox pair, glutathione (GSH) and glutathione disulfide (GSSG), during the exponential-growth phase of TBY-2 cells. A peak in ASC, but not GSH, levels coincided with a peak in the mitotic index. Moreover, when the cells were enriched with ascorbate, a stimulation of cell division occurred whereas, when the cells were enriched with DHA, the mitotic index was reduced. In contrast, glutathione did not affect the mitotic-index peak during this exponential-growth phase. The data are consistent in showing that the ASC-DHA pair acts as a specific redox sensor which is part of the mechanism that regulates cell cycle progression in this cell line.