The proliferating-cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and the replication factors A and C (RF-A and RF-C) are cellular proteins essential for complete elongation of DNA during synthesis from the simian virus 40 origin of DNA replication in vitro. All three cooperate to stimulate processive DNA synthesis by DNA polymerase delta on a primed single-stranded M13 template DNA and as such can be categorized as DNA polymerase accessory proteins. Biochemical analyses with highly purified RF-C and PCNA have demonstrated functions that are completely analogous to the functions of bacteriophage T4 DNA polymerase accessory proteins. A primer-template-specific DNA binding activity and a DNA-dependent ATPase activity copurified with the multisubunit protein RF-C and are similar to the functions of the phage T4 gene 44/62 protein complex. Furthermore, PCNA stimulated the RF-C ATPase activity and is, therefore, analogous to the phage T4 gene 45 protein, which stimulates the ATPase function of the gene 44/62 protein complex. Indeed, some primary sequence similarities between human PCNA and the phage T4 gene 45 protein could be detected. These results demonstrate a striking conservation of the DNA replication apparatus in human cells and bacteriophage T4.