The Rb protein is a tumor suppressor, which plays a pivotal role in the negative control of the cell cycle and in tumor progression. It has been shown that Rb protein (pRb) is responsible for a major G1 checkpoint, blocking S-phase entry and cell growth. The retinoblastoma family includes three members, Rb/p105, p107 and Rb2/p130, collectively referred to as 'pocket proteins'. The pRb protein represses gene transcription, required for transition from G1 to S phase, by directly binding to the transactivation domain of E2F and by binding to the promoter of these genes as a complex with E2F. pRb represses transcription also by remodeling chromatin structure through interaction with proteins such as hBRM, BRG1, HDAC1 and SUV39H1, which are involved in nucleosome remodeling, histone acetylation/deacetylation and methylation, respectively. Loss of pRb functions may induce cell cycle deregulation and so lead to a malignant phenotype. Gene inactivation of pRB through chromosomal mutations is one of the principal reasons for retinoblastoma tumor development. Functional inactivation of pRb by viral oncoprotein binding is also shown in many neoplasias such as cervical cancer, mesothelioma and AIDS-related Burkitt's lymphoma.