Proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) plays an essential role in DNA replication, repair, and cell cycle control. PCNA is a homotrimeric ring that, when encircling DNA, is not easily extractable. Consequently, the dynamics of protein-protein interactions established by PCNA at DNA replication sites is not well understood. We have used DNase I to release DNA-bound PCNA together with replication proteins including the p125-catalytic subunit of DNA polymerase delta (p125-pol delta), DNA ligase I, cyclin A, and cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (CDK2). Interaction with these proteins was investigated by immunoprecipitation with antibodies binding near the interdomain connector loop or to the C-terminal domain of PCNA, respectively, or with antibodies to p125-pol delta or DNA ligase I. PCNA interaction with p125-pol delta or DNA ligase I was detected only by the latter antibodies, and found to be mutually exclusive. In contrast, antibodies to PCNA co-immunoprecipitated only CDK2. A GST-p21(waf1/cip1) C-terminal peptide displaced p125-pol delta and DNA ligase I, but not CDK2, from PCNA. These results suggest that PCNA trimers bound to DNA during the S phase are organized as distinct pools able to bind selectively different partners. Among them, p125-pol delta and DNA ligase I interact with PCNA in a mutually exclusive manner.