Cytokinins (CK) are a class of plant growth substances (plant hormones) active in promoting cell division, and are also involved in cell growth, differentiation, and other physiological processes. Their effects were first discovered through the use of coconut milk in the 1940s by a scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison named Folke Skoog.
There are two kinds of cytokinins, adenine-type cytokinins including kinetin, zeatin and 6-Benzylaminopurine and phenylurea-type cytokinins like diphenylurea. There is no evidence that any phenylurea cytokinins occur naturally in plant tissues. Adenine-type cytokinins are synthesised in stems, leaves and roots, but the root is the major site, furthermore cambium and possibly all actively dividing tissues are responsible for the synthesis of this group of plant hormones. Cytokinin is involved in both local and long distance signalling; as a long distance signal CK shares the same transport systems used by the plant for moving purines and nucleosides.
Cytokinins are involved in many plant processes, including cell division, shoot and root morphagenesis, chloroplast maturation, cell enlargement, auxiliary bud release and senescence. The ratio of auxin to cytokinin is crucial during cell division and the differentiation of plant tissues and auxin is known to regulate the biosynthesis of cytokinin.
- Mok, DWS and Mok, MC. 2001. Cytokinin metabolism and action. Annual Review of Plant Physiology and Plant Molecular Biology 52: 89-118
- Chen, C. et al. 1985. Localization of Cytokinin Biosynthetic Sites in Pea Plants and Carrot Roots. Plant Physiology 78:510–513.
- Sakakibara, H. 2006. Cytokinins: Activity, Biosynthesis, and Translocation. Annual Review of Plant Biology 57: 431-449
- Kieber JJ (2002 Cytokinins. In CR Somerville, EM Meyerowitz, eds, [www.aspb.org/publications/arabidopsis/ The Arabidopsis Book]. American Society of Plant Biologists, Rockville, MD, doi: 10.1199/tab.0009
- Nordström, A. 2004. Auxin regulation of cytokinin biosynthesis in Arabidopsis thaliana: A factor of potential importance for auxin–cytokinin-regulated development. PNAS 101:8039–8044
- Chapter 21 of Plant Physiology Book: Cytokinins: Regulators of Cell Division
- Plant Physiology:Cytokinin