Piyali Dasgupta, Jaya Padmanabhan and Srikumar Chellappan Pages 719 - 729 ( 11 )
Regulators of the cell cycle machinery play a major role in modulating a variety of cellular phenomena including proliferation, quiescence, differentiation, senescence and apoptosis. Studies in the past decade have clearly established a role for the retinoblastoma tumor suppressor protein, Rb, and its primary downstream target E2F1, in the above processes. While the role of the Rb protein in the regulation of cell cycle progression has been analyzed in great detail, its potential roles in apoptosis as well as senescence are relatively less studied. It has become increasingly clear that the anti-apoptotic functions of Rb contribute significantly to the genesis and progression of tumors. This is especially relevant in neuronal systems, since terminally differentiated neurons do not proliferate; therefore the normal anti-proliferative functions of Rb in neurons are not very dominant. This chapter describes the current thoughts on the role of Rb function in the apoptosis and senescence of cells, both of neuronal and non-neuronal origin. Recent studies have also addressed how Rb function is differentially modulated by proliferative and apoptotic signals received at the cell surface, though both lead to Rb inactivation. The contribution of Rb to inducing cellular senescence has been long recognized, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are being elucidated only recently; the contribution of this function of Rb to tumor suppression remains to be understood in detail. It can be expected that an understanding of Rb function in cellular apoptosis and senescence will enhance our ability to develop novel agents and strategies to combat cancer.
Rb positive cancers, E2F1, Rb-MI mice, ASK1 interaction, CNS tumor
Department of Interdisciplinary Oncology, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, University of South Florida, 12902 Magnolia Drive, Tampa, FL 33612, USA.