A Nicotiana tabacum L. SR-1 leaf protoplast system was used to study the effects of dehydroascorbate and glutathione on cellular development. We found that dehydroascorbate is readily taken up by protoplasts and internally reduced to ascorbate. Concomitantly, cell division was inhibited and cell expansion stimulated. In this respect, dehydroascorbate counteracted auxin-mediated leaf protoplast development. In contrast to the effects of dehydroascorbate, glutathione-induced cell dedifferentiation, and this effect is similar to that mediated by high auxin concentrations. We conclude that dehydroascorbate and glutathione affect the auxin-mediated regulation of cellular development. Therefore, the biological role of these compounds extends beyond stress tolerance and defense.