Cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) regulate the cell division cycle, apoptosis, transcription and differentiation in addition to functions in the nervous system. Deregulation of CDKs in various diseases has stimulated an intensive search for selective pharmacological inhibitors of these kinases. More than 50 inhibitors have been identified, among which >20 have been co-crystallized with CDK2. These inhibitors all target the ATP-binding pocket of the catalytic site of the kinase. The actual selectivity of most known CDK inhibitors, and thus the underlying mechanism of their cellular effects, is poorly known. Pharmacological inhibitors of CDKs are currently being evaluated for therapeutic use against cancer, alopecia, neurodegenerative disorders (e.g. Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and stroke), cardiovascular disorders (e.g. atherosclerosis and restenosis), glomerulonephritis, viral infections (e.g. HCMV, HIV and HSV) and parasitic protozoa (Plasmodium sp. and Leishmania sp.).