Tumour suppressor retinoblastoma protein Rb: a transcriptional regulator

Eur J Cancer. 2005 Nov;41(16):2415-27. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2005.08.009. Epub 2005 Oct 4.


Rb was the first tumour suppressor identified through human genetic studies. The most significant achievement after almost twenty years since its cloning is the revelation that Rb possesses functions of a transcription regulator. Rb serves as a transducer between the cell cycle machinery and promoter-specific transcription factors. In this capacity, Rb is best known as a repressor of the E2F/DP family of transcription factors, which regulate expression of genes involved in cell proliferation and survival. An equally important aspect of Rb as a transcription regulator is that Rb also activates certain differentiation transcription factors to promote cellular differentiation. The molecular mechanisms behind the repressive effects of Rb on E2Fs have come to light in significant details, while those relating to Rb activation of differentiation transcription factors are much less understood. Finally, it has become clear that there are other aspects to Rb function that are not immediately related to transcription regulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Chromatin / genetics
  • DNA Methylation
  • E2F Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Genes, Retinoblastoma / genetics
  • Genes, Retinoblastoma / physiology*
  • Histones / genetics
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Retinoblastoma Protein / genetics
  • Retinoblastoma Protein / physiology*


  • Chromatin
  • E2F Transcription Factors
  • Histones
  • Retinoblastoma Protein