• A mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase (MAPKKK) double mutant, Arabidopsis homologue of nucleus and phragmoplast associated kinase (anp) anp2anp3, and the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) 4 mutant mpk4 of Arabidopsis thaliana show prominent cytokinetic defects. This prompted the analysis of mitotic and cytokinetic progression as a function of MAPK signalling. Mutants were compared with wild types untreated or treated with the specific MAPKK inhibitor PD98059. • This study included phenotype analysis, expression analysis of the MPK4 promoter, immunofluorescent localization of MPK4, tubulin and MAP65-1, and time-lapse microscopic visualization of the mitotic microtubule (MT) transitions in control, mutant and inhibitor-treated cells. • Mutant and inhibitor-treated cells showed defects in mitosis and cytokinesis, including aberrant spindle and phragmoplast formation and drastically delayed or abortive mitosis and cytokinesis. As a result, bi- and multinucleate cells were formed, ultimately disturbing the vegetative tissue patterning. MPK4 was localized to all stages of the expanding phragmoplast, in a pattern similar to that of its putative substrate MAP65-1. • In this study, MPK4 is shown to be involved in the regulation of mitosis/cytokinesis through modulation of the cell division plane and cytokinetic progression.
© 2010 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2010 New Phytologist Trust.