Cell cycle progression is regulated by both intracellular and extracellular control mechanisms. Intracellular controls ensure that cell cycle progression is stopped in response to irregularities such as DNA damage or faulty spindle assembly, whereas extracellular factors may determine cell fate such as differentiation, proliferation or programmed cell death (apoptosis). When extracellular factors bind to receptors at the outside of the cell, signal transduction cascades are activated inside the cell that eventually lead to cellular responses. We have shown previously that MAP kinase (MAPK), one of the proteins involved in several signal transduction processes, is phosphorylated early after mitosis and translocates to the nucleus around the restriction point. The activation of MAPK is independent of cell attachment, but does require the presence of growth factors. Moreover, it appears that in Chinese hamster ovary cells, a transformed cell line, growth factors must be present early in the G1 phase for a nuclear translocation of MAPK and subsequent DNA replication to occur. When growth factors are withdrawn from the medium immediately after mitosis, MAPK is not phosphorylated, cell cycle progression is stopped and cells appear to enter a quiescent state, which may lead to apoptosis. Furthermore, in addition to this growth-factor-regulated decision point in early G1 phase, another growth-factor-sensitive period can be distinguished at the end of the G1 phase. This period is suggested to correlate with the classical restriction point (R) and may be related to cell differentiation.