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Chromosoma. 2010 Feb;119(1):1-11. doi: 10.1007/s00412-009-0238-0. Epub 2009 Aug 28.

pRb, a local chromatin organizer with global possibilities.

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Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Harvard Medical School, Building 149, 13th Street, Charlestown, MA, 02129, USA.


The retinoblastoma (pRb) family of proteins are well known for their tumor suppressor properties and for their ability to regulate transcription. The action of pRb family members correlates with the appearance of repressive chromatin marks at promoter regions of genes encoding key regulators of cell proliferation. Recent studies raise the possibility that pRb family members do not simply act by controlling the activity of individual promoters but that they may also function by promoting the more general organization of chromatin. In several contexts, pRb family members stimulate the compaction or condensation of chromatin and promote the formation of heterochromatin. In this review, we summarize studies that link pRb family members to the condensation or compaction of DNA.

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