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Bovine herpesvirus 1 (BHV-1) establishes a latent infection in the sensory ganglionic neurons of cattle. The exclusive viral RNA expressed in a latent infection is the latency-related (LR) RNA, suggesting that it regulates some aspect of a latent infection. During the course of a productive infection, alphaherpesviruses induce certain events which occur during cell cycle progression. Consequently, we hypothesized that a BHV-1 infection might induce events in neurons which occur during cell cycle progression. In agreement with this hypothesis, cyclin A was detected in neurons of trigeminal ganglia when rabbits were infected. Neuronal cell cycle progression or inappropriate expression of cyclin A leads to apoptosis, suggesting that a viral factor inhibits the deleterious effects of cyclin A expression. The BHV-1 LR gene inhibited cell cycle progression and proliferation of human osteosarcoma cells. Antibodies directed against cyclin A or the LR protein coprecipitated the LR protein or cyclin A, respectively, suggesting that the two proteins interact with each other. We conclude that LR gene products inhibit cell cycle progression and hypothesize that this activity enhances the survival of infected neurons.