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Mol Cell. 1999 Feb;3(2):195-205.

Mechanism of transcriptional repression of E2F by the retinoblastoma tumor suppressor protein.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.


The retinoblastoma tumor suppressor protein (pRB) is a transcriptional repressor, critical for normal cell cycle progression. We have undertaken studies using a highly purified reconstituted in vitro transcription system to demonstrate how pRB can repress transcriptional activation mediated by the E2F transcription factor. Remarkably, E2F activation became resistant to pRB-mediated repression after the establishment of a partial (TFIIA/TFIID) preinitiation complex (PIC). DNase I footprinting studies suggest that E2F recruits TFIID to the promoter in a step that also requires TFIIA and confirm that recruitment of the PIC by E2F is blocked by pRB. These studies suggest a detailed mechanism by which E2F activates and pRB represses transcription without the requirement of histone-modifying enzymes.

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