Introduction to the E2F Family: Protein Structure and Gene Regulation

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The E2F gene family was identified through several different types of investigations, including studies of viral oncogenes, positive and negative growth regulatory proteins, and cellular promoters. As described below and by Cobrinik, Cress and Nevins, and Adams and Kaelin (this volume), the E2F family (which includes at least seven members) has not only been implicated in controlling viral and cellular gene expression, but also is thought to play an important role in growth regulatory processes such as the G1 to S phase transition and programmed cell death. To understand how this gene family can mediate these important events it is first necessary to examine the structure and regulation of the individual family members.