Id proteins are important parts of signaling pathways involved in development, cell cycle and tumorigenesis. They were first shown to act as dominant negative antagonists of the basic helix-loop-helix family of transcription factors, which positively regulate differentiation in many cell lineages. The Id proteins do this by associating with the ubiquitous E proteins and preventing them from binding DNA or other transcription factors. Id proteins also associate with Ets transcription factors and the Rb family of tumor suppressor proteins, and are downstream targets of transforming growth factor β and bone morphogenic protein signaling. Thus, the Id proteins have become important molecules for understanding basic biological processes as well as targets for potential therapeutic intervention in human disease.