A new human cyclin, named cyclin E, was isolated by complementation of a triple cln deletion in S. cerevisiae. Cyclin E showed genetic interactions with the CDC28 gene, suggesting that it functioned at START by interacting with the CDC28 protein. Two human genes were identified that could interact with cyclin E to perform START in yeast containing a cdc28 mutation. One was CDC2-HS, and the second was the human homolog of Xenopus CDK2. Cyclin E produced in E. coli bound and activated the CDC2 protein in extracts from human G1 cells, and antibodies against cyclin E immunoprecipitated a histone H1 kinase from HeLa cells. The interactions between cyclin E and CDC2, or CDK2, may be important at the G1 to S transition in human cells.