Using indirect immunofluorescence, well-characterized monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies, and temperature-sensitive (ts) mutants of herpes simplex virus type 1, we demonstrated that the 65-kilodalton DNA-binding protein (65KDBP), the major DNA-binding protein (infected cell polypeptide 8 [ICP8]), and the viral DNA polymerase (Pol) colocalize to replication compartments in the nuclei of infected cells under conditions which permit viral DNA synthesis. When viral DNA synthesis was blocked by incubation of the wild-type virus with phosphonoacetic acid, the 65KDBP, Pol, and ICP8 failed to localize to replication compartments. Instead, ICP8 accumulated nearly exclusively to prereplication sites, while the 65KDBP was only diffusely localized within the nuclei. Although some of the Pol accumulated in prereplication sites occupied by ICP8 in the presence of phosphonoacetic acid, a significant amount of Pol also was distributed throughout the nuclei. Examination by double-labeling immunofluorescence of DNA- ts mutant virus-infected cells revealed that the 65KDBP also did not colocalize with ICP8 to prereplication sites at temperatures nonpermissive for virus replication. These results are in disagreement with the hypothesis that ICP8 is the major organizational protein responsible for attracting other replication protein to prereplication sites in preparation for viral DNA synthesis (A. de Bruyn Kops and D. M. Knipe, Cell 55:857-868, 1988), and they suggest that other viral proteins, perhaps in addition to ICP8, or replication fork progression per se are required to organize the 65KDBP.