Overexpression of c-Myc or E2F1 sensitizes host cells to various types of apoptosis. Here, we found that overexpressed c-Myc or E2F1 induces accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and thereby enhances serum-deprived apoptosis in NIH3T3 and Saos-2. During serum deprivation, MnSOD mRNA was induced by NF-kappaB in mock-transfected NIH3T3, while this induction was inhibited in NIH3T3 overexpressing c-Myc or E2F1. In these clones, E2F1 inhibited NF-kappaB activity by binding to its subunit p65 in competition with a heterodimeric partner p50. In addition to overexpressed E2F1, endogenous E2F1 released from Rb was also found to inhibit NF-kappaB activity in a cell cycle-dependent manner by using E2F1(+/+) and E2F1(-/-) murine embryonic fibroblasts. These results indicate that E2F1 promotes apoptosis by inhibiting NF-kappaB activity.