A cDNA library was screened for plant proliferating-cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) from Catharanthus roseus (periwinkle). A lambda gt11 cDNA library was constructed using poly(A)-rich RNA isolated from the cells in the S phase. A cDNA clone for PCNA was isolated by using a rice genomic clone, pCJ-1, which contains PCNA-related gene sequences. The cDNA contains an open reading frame of 804 nucleotides, encoding a protein of 268 amino acids with a molecular mass of 29,765 Da. When conservative substitutions were included, a high degree of similarity (about 85%) was observed between the predicted amino acid sequence of periwinkle PCNA and that of human PCNA. Expression of mRNA for periwinkle PCNA was undetectable or very weak in quiescent cells, such as phosphate-starved cells, auxin-starved cells and cells in the stationary phase. In the synchronous progression of the cell cycle induced by the addition of phosphate or auxin, the active accumulation of periwinkle PCNA mRNA was observed preferentially in the S phase. When an inhibitor of DNA synthesis, aphidicolin, was added to the cells at the G1 phase, an increase in the level of PCNA mRNA was observed. The partial inhibition of protein synthesis at the G1 phase by a protein inhibitor, anisomycin, caused the arrest of cells in the G1 phase. No increase of the level of periwinkle PCNA mRNA was observed in cells arrested at the G1 phase by the inhibition of protein synthesis. These results indicate that the induction of mRNA for periwinkle PCNA occurred independently of the initiation of DNA replication, but that synthesis of certain proteins at the G1 phase was required for the induction of periwinkle PCNA mRNA at the S phase.