Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infection disrupted cell cycle regulation in at least two ways. First, infection of quiescent human embryonic lung cells simultaneously with readdition of serum caused inhibition of cyclin D/cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 4,6-specific and cyclin E/CDK2-specific phosphorylation of the retinoblastoma protein pRb. The inhibition of cyclin D/CDK4,6 kinase activity corresponded to a loss of cyclin D1 protein and a failure of CDK4 and CDK6 to translocate to the nucleus. Failure to detect cyclin E/CDK2 kinase activity was accompanied by a loss of cyclin E protein and a failure of CDK2 to translocate to the nucleus. Levels of pocket protein p130 persisted, whereas p107 did not accumulate. As a result of these effects on cyclin kinase, G(0)-infected cells failed to reenter the cell cycle. The second type of HSV-induced cell cycle dysregulation was observed in asynchronously dividing cell cultures. A rapid inhibition of preexisting cyclin E/CDK2 and cyclin A/CDK2 activities was observed in human embryonic lung cells, as well as two other human cell lines: C33 and U2OS. HSV-1 immediate-early gene expression was necessary for the inhibition of CDK2 kinase activity. Cyclin and CDK subunit protein levels, intracellular localization, and complex stability were unaffected by infection. In addition, levels of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, p27 and p21, were not affected by HSV-1. Previous experiments demonstrated that in asynchronous infected cells, hypophosphorylated pRb and pocket protein-E2F complexes accumulated, and cellular DNA synthesis was rapidly inhibited. Coupled with the present results, this indicates that HSV-1 has evolved mechanisms for preventing cells in G(1) from proceeding through the restriction point and for cells in S from completing a round of DNA replication.