Mkp1 (MAPKAP kinase Schizosaccharomyces pombe 1) and Mkp2 are two members from fission yeast of the sub-class of putative MAPK-activated protein kinases in yeasts, the other known members being Rck1 and Rck2 from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The Mkp1 protein is readily co-immunoprecipitated with Sty1 from S. pombe extracts; Mkp2 shows a weaker interaction with Sty1. In mkp1 mutants, conjugation and meiosis proceed more readily and rapidly than in wild-type cells, in analogy to what was previously found for S. cerevisiae rck1 mutants. Conversely, overexpression of mkp1(+) delays meiosis. Mkp1 is phosphorylated in vivo in a sty1(+)-dependent manner; this modification is removed when cells are starved for nitrogen, a condition that is conducive to entry into stationary phase and meiosis. Overexpression of mkp1(+), like a sty1 mutation, also causes vegetative cells to elongate. The level of Mkp1 phosphorylation drops as cells enter mitosis. We have localised Mkp1 to the cytoplasm, excluded from the nucleus, in vegetative cells. The Mkp1 protein accumulates in zygotic asci and is concentrated within spores. The mkp2(+) gene has no noticeable impact on meiosis. Mkp2 is excluded from the nucleus in vegetative cells, and is concentrated at the septa of dividing cells. Mkp2 does not accumulate in meiotic cells.