E2F - at the crossroads of life and death

Trends Cell Biol. 2008 Nov;18(11):528-35. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2008.08.003. Epub 2008 Sep 18.


The retinoblastoma tumor suppressor, pRb, restricts cell-cycle progression mainly by regulating members of the E2F-transcription-factor family. The Rb pathway is often inactivated in human tumors, resulting in deregulated-E2F activity that promotes proliferation or cell death, depending on the cellular context. Specifically, the outcome of deregulated-E2F activity is determined by integration of signals coming from the cellular DNA and the external environment. Alterations in cell proliferation and cell-death pathways are key features of transformed cells and, therefore, an understanding of the variables that determine the outcome of E2F activation is pivotal for cancer research and treatment. In this review, we discuss recent studies that have elucidated some of the signals affecting E2F activity and that have revealed additional E2F targets and functions, thereby enriching the understanding of this versatile transcription-factor family.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis*
  • Autophagy*
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • E2F Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Retinoblastoma Protein / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism


  • E2F Transcription Factors
  • Retinoblastoma Protein
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53