Mevinolin, an inhibitor of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase, was used to study the importance of mevalonic acid (MVA) for cell cycle progression of tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) BY-2 cells. After treatment with 5 μM mevinolin, the cell cycle progression was completely blocked and two cell populations accumulated (80% in phase G0/G1 and 20% in G2/M). The arrest could be released by subsequent addition of MVA. Effects were compared to those caused by aphidicolin, an inhibitor of α-like DNA polymerases that blocks cell cycle at the entry of the S phase. The 80% proportion of mevinolin-treated TBY-2 cells was clearly arrested before the aphidicolin-inducible block. By the aid of a double-blocking technique, it was shown that the mevinolin-induced cell arrest of highly synchronized cells was due to interaction with a control point located at the mitotic telophase/entry G1 phase. Depending on the developmental stage, mevinolin induced rapid cell death in a considerable percentage of cells. Mevinolin treatment led to a partial synchronization, as shown by the increase in mitotic index. The following decrease was correlated with the above-mentioned induction of cell death.