Cyclin-dependent kinase 6 (CDK6) is the key element of the D-type cyclin holoenzymes which has been found to function in the regulation of G1-phase of the cell cycle and is presumed to play important roles in T cell function. In this study, Znhit1, a member of a new zinc finger protein family defined by a conserved Zf-HIT domain, induced arrest in the G1-phase of the cell cycle in NIH/3T3 cells. Of the G1 cell cycle factors examined, the expression of CDK6 was found to be strongly down-regulated by Znhit1 via transcriptional repression. This effect may have correlations with the decreased acetylation level of histone H4 in the CDK6 promoter region. In addition, considering that CDK6 expression predominates in T cells, the negative regulatory role of Znhit1 in TCR-induced T cell proliferation was validated using transgenic mice. These findings identified Znhit1 as a CDK6 regulator that plays an important role in cell proliferation. (C) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.