One of the sulfo-lipids, 1-mono-O-acyl-3-O-(alpha-D-sulfoquinovosyl)-glyceride (SQMG), potently and selectively inhibited the activity of mammalian DNA polymerases. SQMG was also a potent apoptosis inducer and the SQMG effect occurred through the induction of G1 arrest with a reduction in the proportion of cells in the S phase. SQMG clearly increased the levels of p53 and p21 proteins, but did not induce the expression of p27 and p16 proteins. SQMG markedly reduced the pRb protein level and inhibited pRb phosphorylation after 48hr. These results suggested that SQMG activates the G1 checkpoint as a result of the DNA polymerase inhibition, and then promotes a p53-dependent apoptotic response. Since aphidicolin, a well-known replicative DNA polymerase inhibitor, did not promote these protein expressions, the apoptosis-inducing pathway by SQMG differs from that by aphidicolin.