Cyclin D1, a putative G1 cyclin, has been implicated in cell cycle control. The human cyclin D1 gene is located on chromosome 11q13 where DNA rearrangement and amplification have been detected in several types of human cancer. Previous studies demonstrated that the cyclin D1 gene is not only rearranged or amplified but also overexpressed in some of these human tumors and tumor-derived cell lines. To further address the roles of cyclin D1 in cell cycle control and tumorigenesis, we have stably overexpressed the human cyclin D1 cDNA in Rat6 embryo fibroblasts by using retrovirus mediated transduction. The cyclin D1 protein was overproduced about 10-fold and was localized predominately in the nucleus. Cyclin D1 overexpressing cells displayed a decrease in the duration of the G1 phase, decreased cell size, and induced tumors when injected into athymic (nude) mice. In addition, overexpression of cyclin D1 in Rat6 cells perturbed the expression of several cellular growth-related genes including c-myc, c-jun, and cyclin A, but not cyclin D3. Taken together, these results indicate that deregulated expression of the cyclin D1 gene can cause disturbances in cell cycle control and gene expression and also enhance tumorigenesis.