Emerging roles of RB family: new defense mechanisms against tumor progression.
ABSTRACT The retinoblastoma (RB) family of proteins, including RB1/p105, retinoblastoma-like 1 (RBL1/p107) and retinoblastoma-like 2 (RBL2/p130), is principally known for its central role on cell cycle regulation. The inactivation of RB proteins confers a growth advantage and underlies multiple types of tumors. Recently, it has been shown that RB proteins have other important roles, such as preservation of chromosomal stability, induction and maintenance of senescence and regulation of apoptosis, cellular differentiation and angiogenesis. RB proteins are involved in many cellular pathways and act as transcriptional regulators able to bind several transcription factors, thus antagonizing or potentiating their functions. Furthermore, RB proteins might control the expression of specific target genes by recruiting chromatin remodeling enzymes. Although many efforts have been made to dissect the different functions of RB proteins, it remains still unclear which are necessary for cancer suppression and the role they play at distinct steps of carcinogenesis. Moreover, RB proteins can behave differently in various cell types or cell states. Elucidating the intricate RB protein network in regulating cell fate might provide the knowledge necessary to explain their potent tumor suppressor activity and to design novel therapeutic strategies. J. Cell. Physiol. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.