We have previously shown that bovine herpesvirus 1 (BHV-1), even when inactivated, induces apoptotic cell death in mitogen-stimulated bovine peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) (Hanon et al., 1996, J. Virol. 70, 4116-4120). In order to gain insight into this process, we have investigated the cell cycle phase at which BHV-1 induces apoptosis in PBMCs. Our results show that the percentage of cells that progress through the S phase was always lower in BHV-1-infected PBMCs than in control cells. This effect was not due to a defective activation of mitogen-stimulated PBMCs since BHV-1 only slightly affected the percentage of cells expressing BoCD25, a well-known lymphocyte activation marker. Furthermore, mimosine and cyclosporine A, two chemicals that inhibit entry into the S phase of the cell cycle by different pathways, did not affect the ability of BHV-1 to induce apoptosis. BHV-1-induced apoptosis also occurred in unstimulated PBMCs and interestingly, this was associated with the expression of c-myc and BoCD25 proteins both of which are related to cell cycle progression. All together, these data provide evidence demonstrating that BHV-1-induced apoptosis occurs at the G0/G1 phase of the cell cycle.