In this study, we investigated the effect of plant microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) on microtubule nucleation and growth in vitro. Since it has recently been demonstrated that plant nuclear surface acts as a microtubule-organizing center (MTOC), we tested the effects of plant MAPs using a nucleus-mediated microtubule nucleation assay. Nuclei were isolated from interphase tobacco BY-2 cells, and MAPs were isolated from tobacco BY-2 cells at different stages of the cell cycle. The effects of tobacco MAPs on microtubule nucleation at mammalian centrosomes were also analyzed. Under our experimental conditions, both interphase and mitotic tobacco MAPs promoted microtubule assembly around tobacco nuclei and at mammalian centrosomes below the critical tubulin concentration for spontaneous assembly. Interphase tobacco MAPs increase the mean length of nucleated microtubules in proportion to its molar ratio to tubulin. In contrast, mitotic tobacco MAPs do not induce nucleus- and centrosome-mediated nucleation of microtubules in a dose-dependent manner. Both MAP-fractions possessed microtubule bundling activity. The implications of these plant MAP properties on microtubule nucleation in living cells are discussed.