[en] Background and aims Kip-related-proteins (KRPs), negative regulators of cell division, have recently been discovered in plants but their in planta function is as yet unclear. In this study the spatial expression of all seven KRP genes in shoot apices of Arabidopsis thaliana were compared. Methods In situ hybridization analyses were performed on longitudinal sections of shoot apices from 2-month-old Arabidopsis plants. Key Results The study provides evidence for different expression pattern groups. KRP1 and KRP2 expression is restricted to the endoreduplicating tissues. In contrast, KRP4 and KRP5 expression is mainly restricted to mitotically dividing cells. KRP3, KRP6 and KRP7 can be found in both mitotically dividing and endoreduplicating cells. Conclusion The results suggest differential roles for the distinct KRPs. KRP1 and KRP2 might specifically be involved in the establishment of polyploidy. In contrast, KRP4 and KRP5 might be involved in regulating the progression through the mitotic cell cycle. KRP3, KRP6 and KRP7 might have a function in both types of cell cycle. (C) 2004 Annals of Botany Company.