- Summary Post-translational modifications of core histone proteins play a key role in chromatin structure and function. Here, we study histone post-translational modifications during reentry of protoplasts derived from tobacco mesophyll cells into the cell cycle and evaluate their significance for progression through mitosis. Methylation of histone H3 at lysine residues 4 and 9 persisted in chromosomes during all phases of the cell cycle. However, acetylation of H4 and H3 was dramatically reduced during mitosis in a stage-specific manner; while deacetylation of histone H4 commenced at prophase and persisted up to telophase, histone H3 remained acetylated up to metaphase but was deacetylated at anaphase and telophase. Phosphorylation of histone H3 at serine 10 was initiated at prophase, concomitantly with deacetylation of histone H4, and persisted up to telophase. Preventing histone deacetylation by the histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A (TSA) led to accumulation of protoplasts at metaphase–anaphase, and reduced S10 phosphorylation during anaphase and telophase; in cultured tobacco cells, TSA significantly reduced the frequency of mitotic figures. Our results indicate that deacetylation of histone H4 and H3 in tobacco protoplasts occurs during mitosis in a phase-specific manner, and is important for progression through mitosis.