The identification of cell proliferation markers has been shown to be a useful tool with which to study basic mechanisms of cell cycle progression. The use of immunofluorescence techniques revealed the presence of the proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) in pea tissue, where we observed a high PCNA expression in proliferating cells of the root meristem compared to noncycling cells of the differentiated leaf. The presence of PCNA was monitored also during the time-course of seed germination, before, during and after the cell cycle resumption of the embryo cells. PCNA is present in embryo cells not only during and after resumption of the cell cycle but also before, when cells have not yet begun replicating their genome. A bivariate flow cytometric analysis of DNA and nuclear protein content was used to localize precisely the cells of the examined pea tissues in different cell cycle phase subcompartments. A high correlation was found between the degree of cell proliferation and the protein content of G1 nuclei, on the one hand, and the percentage of PCNA positive cells on the other.

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