Regulated gene expression is essential for a proper progression through the cell cycle. The transcription factor NF-Y has a fundamental function in transcriptional regulation of cell cycle genes, particularly of G2/M genes. In order to investigate common and distinct functions of NF-Y subunits in cell cycle regulation, NF-YA, NF-YB and NF-YC have been silenced by shRNAs in HCT116 cells. NF-YA loss led to a delay in S-phase progression, DNA damage and apoptosis we showed the activation of the replication checkpoint, through the recruitment of Δp53 and of the replication proteins PCNA and Mcm7 to chromatin. Differently, NF-YB depletion impaired cells from exiting G2/M, but did not interfere with S-phase progression. Gene expression analysis of NF-YA and NF-YB inactivated cells highlighted a common set of hit genes, as well as a plethora of uncommon genes, unveiling a different effect of NF-Y subunits loss on NF-Y binding to its target genes. Chromatin extracts and ChIP analysis showed that NF-YA depletion was more effective than NF-YB in hitting NF-Y recruitment to CCAAT-promoters. Our data suggest a critical role of NF-Y expression, highlighting that the lack of the single subunits are differently perceived by the cells, which activate diverse cell cycle blocks and signaling pathways.