The retinoblastoma protein, pRB, appears to play a key role in coordinating the regulation of cell cycle position and transcriptional events. pRB undergoes specific cell-cycle-dependent phosphorylation, being underphosphorylated in G1 and heavily phosphorylated in S, G2, and M. The underphosphorylated form is able to interact with the E2F transcription factor. Recently, we have cloned a cDNA for E2F-1. By using this clone and a series of non-pRB binding mutants, we have been able to show that the binding of pRB to E2F-1 causes inhibition of E2F-mediated transactivation. pRB's inhibition of E2F-mediated transcription would be lost by mutation in the retinoblastoma gene in human tumours, by pRB's interaction with DNA tumour virus oncoproteins, or by phosphorylation during the cell cycle.