Selected transcription factors have critical roles to play in organism survival by regulating the expression of genes that control the adaptations needed to handle stress conditions. The retinoblastoma (Rb) protein coupled with the E2F transcription factor family was demonstrated to have roles in controlling the cell cycle during freezing and associated environmental stresses (anoxia, dehydration). Rb phosphorylation or acetylation at different sites provides a mechanism for repressing cell proliferation that is under the control of E2F transcription factors in animals facing stresses that disrupt cellular energetics or cell volume controls. Other central regulators of the cell cycle including Cyclins, Cyclin-dependent kinases (Cdks), and checkpoint proteins detect DNA damage or any improper replication, blocking further progression of cell cycle and interrupting cell proliferation. This review provides an insight into the molecular regulatory mechanisms of cell cycle control, focusing on Rb-E2F along with Cyclin-Cdk complexes typically involved in development and differentiation that need to be regulated in order to survive extreme cellular stress.