Expression of viral oncoproteins results in the loss of cell cycle checkpoint control and the accumulation of chromosomal abnormalities. Expression of both human papillomavirus type 16 oncoproteins, E6 and E7, in normal human fibroblasts completely dissociates p21 and proliferating cell nuclear antigen from the quarternary cyclin-cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) complexes present in normal cells, causes disruption of the cyclin D-CDK4 complex and replacement with a CDK4-p16 complex, and leaves binary complexes of cyclin B1-CDC2 and cyclin A-CDK2 intact. These results are identical to those observed in fully transformed cells. The expression of the individual oncoproteins dramatically affects the association of proliferating cell nuclear antigen into the complexes while leaving the total cellular levels unaltered. Expression of low-risk human papillomavirus has no effect on cyclin complexes. These findings provide evidence for the gross alteration of cyclin-CDK complexes in preneoplastic cells and links this alteration to the loss of genomic stability.