Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a toxic metabolite produced by Aspergillus and Penicillium fungus. OTA found in the human and animal tissues can contaminate many foods that we daily consume in our lives. It accumulates especially in kidney. Although OTA is known to cause cell cycle arrest, the molecular mechanisms underlying this effect have not been fully understood, yet. We aimed to investigate the molecular details of OTA induced inhibitory response in G1 - G1/S phase of cell cycle and also the regulatory role of p53 in OTA mediated cell cycle arrest in human proximal tubule epithelial cells, HK-2. For this purpose, Cyclin E1 and Cyclin D1 mRNA expressions and Cyclin D1, Cdk4 and Cdk2 protein expressions were evaluated in HK-2 cells transfected with either 50 nM control siRNA or p53 siRNA for 72 h in the absence or presence of OTA using RT-PCR and Western blot analyses, respectively. Our findings showed that mRNA expressions of Cyclin D1 and Cyclin El and protein expressions of Cyclin D1, Cdk4 and Cdk2 were inhibited in HK-2 cells treated with two different doses of OTA, 10 mu M and 25 mu M, for 24 h. However, the downregulation of p53 led to enhance OTA-mediated increase in mRNA expressions of Cyclin D1 and Cyclin E1 and protein expressions of Cyclin D1, Cdk4 and Cdk2 compared to control siRNA transfected HK-2 cells. Our findings strongly suggest that the cell cycle arresting effect of OTA also performs via a p53 mediated mechanism besides other possible mechanisms.