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Mol Cell Biol. 1993 Dec;13(12):7813-25.

The retinoblastoma protein binds to a family of E2F transcription factors.

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Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Charlestown 02129.


E2F is a transcription factor that helps regulate the expression of a number of genes that are important in cell proliferation. Recently, several laboratories have isolated a cDNA clone that encodes an E2F-like protein, known as E2F-1. Subsequent characterization of this protein showed that it had the properties of E2F, but it was difficult to account for all of the suggested E2F activities through the function of this one protein. Using low-stringency hybridization, we have isolated cDNA clones that encode two additional E2F-like proteins, called E2F-2 and E2F-3. The chromosomal locations of the genes for E2F-2 and E2F-3 were mapped to 1p36 and 6q22, respectfully, confirming their independence from E2F-1. However, the E2F-2 and E2F-3 proteins are closely related to E2F-1. Both E2F-2 and E2F-3 bound to wild-type but not mutant E2F recognition sites, and they bound specifically to the retinoblastoma protein in vivo. Finally, E2F-2 and E2F-3 were able to activate transcription of E2F-responsive genes in a manner that was dependent upon the presence of at least one functional E2F binding site. These observations suggest that the E2F activities described previously result from the combined action of a family of proteins.

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