Fenglei Chen

Northwest University, Northwest Harborcreek, Pennsylvania, United States

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Publications (7)16.11 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: CREBZF, also known as Zhangfei or SMILE, is a member of the CREB/ATF protein family. CREBZF has mainly been considered as a basic region-leucine zipper transcription factor that functions in coordination with other transcription factors and plays a role in latent HSV-1 infection, apoptosis and the mammalian endoplasmic reticulum stress and unfolded protein response. In this study, we constructed recombinant lentiviral vectors for CREBZF short hairpin RNA (shRNA) expression and over-expression to improve understanding of the mechanisms regulating CREBZF. The CREBZF ORF sequence was cloned into the lentiviral shuttle plasmid pCD513B-1, and various shRNA oligonucleotides and one negative control (shN) were cloned into the pCD513B-U6 expression vector. The recombinant lentivirus was packaged and transduced into NIH 3T3 cells. CREBZF mRNA and protein expression were examined using real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and western blotting, respectively. The over-expression vector and the most effective shRNA vector significantly affected the expression of CREBZF mRNA and protein. Both of the CREBZF recombinant lentiviral vectors were successfully constructed. The over-expression vector significantly increased the expression of exogenous CREBZF and inhibited the growth of NIH 3T3 cells compared to controls. The most effective shRNA lentiviral vector, pCD513B-U6-CREBZF-shRNA-3, was transformed, leading to significant knockdown of the CREBZF gene. We conclude that CREBZF the recombinant lentiviral vectors are promising tools for regulating the expression of CREBZF in NIH 3T3 cells.
    Plasmid 09/2014; · 1.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: CREBZF is a member of the mammalian ATF/CREB family of the basic region-leucine zipper (bZIP) transcription factors. Two isoforms of CREBZF have been identified from the alternative usage of initiation codons, SMILE (long isoform of CREBZF) and Zhangfei (short isoform of CREBZF). Until recently, the physiological function of CREBZF in mammalian reproductions has not been reported. Multiple techniques were performed to investigate the spatiotemporal expression and hormonal regulation of the CREBZF gene in the mouse uterus and its role in embryo implantation. Zhangfei was not detected in the mouse uterus. SMILE immunostaining was mainly expressed in the uterine luminal and glandular epithelium, and the expression levels of both SMILE mRNA and protein gradually decreased from days 1-3 of pregnancy, peaked on day 4, and then declined again on day 6. On day 5 of pregnancy, SMILE protein expression was detected only in the luminal epithelium at implantation sites compared with the expression at inter-implantation sites. SMILE protein was not detected in decidual cells from days 6-8 of pregnancy or artificial decidualisation. Furthermore, SMILE protein was not detected in the mouse uterus on days 3-6 of pseudopregnancy, and SMILE expression was also induced in the delayed-implantation uterus, indicating that the presence of an active blastocyst was required for SMILE expression at the implantation site. Oestrogen significantly stimulated SMILE expression in the ovariectomised mouse uterus. In addition, in cycling mice, high levels of SMILE protein and mRNA expression were also observed in proestrus and oestrus uteri. Taken together, these results suggested that SMILE expression was closely related to mouse implantation and up-regulated by oestrogen.
    Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 12/2013; 11(1):110. · 2.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to investigate the spatiotemporal expression and regulation of GRP78 in the mouse uterus during the peri-implantation period. The GRP78 protein was mainly detected in the luminal and glandular epithelia on days 1-4 of pregnancy. On day 5 of pregnancy, the GRP78 protein was more highly observed around the implanted embryo at the implantation site. There was no detectable GRP78 protein signal on day 5 of pseudopregnancy. GRP78 mRNA and protein levels gradually increased on days 6-8 of pregnancy, and the expression pattern was also expanded, coinciding with the development of decidua. Similarly, GRP78 expression was also strongly expressed in decidualised cells following artificial decidualisation. Compared with the results obtained with the delayed uterus, a high level of GRP78 expression was detected in the implantation-activated uterus. In the uteri of ovariectomised mice, GRP78 expression increased and reached its highest level after injection of oestrogen, and progesterone seemed to have an antagonistic effect on oestrogen up-regulation of GRP78 expression. Our data indicate that GRP78 might play an important role during the process of mouse embryo implantation, and GRP78 expression was mainly regulated by active blastocysts and maternal oestrogen.
    Journal of molecular histology 11/2013; · 1.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Luman/CREB3 recruitment factor (LRF or CREBRF) was identified as a regulator of Luman (or CREB3) that is involved in the unfolded protein response during endoplasmic reticulum stress. Luman is implicated in a multitude of functions ranging from viral infection and immunity to cancer. The biological function of LRF, however, is unknown. In this paper, we report that uteri of pregnant mice and embryos displayed enhanced LRF expression at all stages, and the expressed LRF was found to be localized specifically at implantation sites. On the other hand, uteri of mice induced for delayed implantation or pseudopregnant mice showed low levels of LRF expression, suggesting that LRF mediates uterine receptivity during implantation. Further, expression of LRF was found to be modulated by steroid hormones such as progesterone and estradiol. This study thereby identifies a potential role for LRF in the process of implantation in uteri and development of preimplantation embryos in mice.
    Journal of Reproduction and Development 02/2013; · 1.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The study of uterine gene expression patterns is valuable for understanding the biological and molecular mechanisms that occur during embryo implantation. Real-time quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) is an extremely sensitive technique that allows for the precise quantification of mRNA abundance; however, selecting stable reference genes suitable for the normalization of qRT-PCR data is required to avoid the misinterpretation of experimental results and erroneous analyses. This study employs several mouse models, including an early pregnancy, a pseudopregnancy, a delayed implantation and activation, an artificial decidualization and a hormonal treatment model; ten candidate reference genes (PPIA, RPLP0, HPRT1, GAPDH, ACTB, TBP, B2M, 18S, UBC and TUBA) that are found in uterine tissues were assessed for their suitability as internal controls for relative qRT-PCR quantification. GeNorm(PLUS), NormFinder, and BestKeeper were used to evaluate these candidate reference genes, and all of these methods identified RPLP0 and GAPDH as the most stable candidates and B2M and 18S as the least stable candidates. However, when the different models were analyzed separately, the reference genes exhibited some variation in their expression levels.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(4):e62462. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Follicular atresia is primarily induced by granulosa cell apoptosis; however, the molecular mechanisms that control apoptotic cell death in granulosa cells remain poorly understood. The present studies were undertaken to investigate the role of a novel endoplasmic reticulum stress-regulated gene Luman recruiting factor (LRF) in granulosa cell apoptosis during mouse follicular atresia. Based on immunohistochemistry and confocal laser scanning microscope analysis, LRF protein was localized in the cytoplasm of apoptotic granulosa cells, similar to localization of the LRF, Luman, CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein homologous protein and caspase-12 proteins were localized in apoptotic granulosa cells. However, glucose-regulated protein 78 protein was only present in healthy cells of the mural granulosa cell layers. A spontaneous onset of apoptotic cell death of granulosa cells was induced by thapsigargin or tunicamycin treatment in vitro, which was closely related to the increase of LRF, Luman, CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein homologous protein, and caspase-12 mRNA. Taken together, LRF might be involved in inducing apoptosis of granulosa cells through the endoplasmic reticulum stress pathway and might have a key role in mouse follicular selection.
    Theriogenology 12/2012; · 2.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Follicular atresia is primarily induced by granulosa cell apoptosis, but description of the apoptotic pathway in granulosa cells is incomplete. In this study, we explored the possibility that endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress could be involved in granulosa cell apoptosis during goat follicular atresia. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that DNA damage-inducible transcript 3 (DDIT3) and glucose-regulated protein 78 (Grp78) were observed in scattered apoptotic granulosa cells of atretic follicles. Grp78 and DDIT3 mRNA and protein were upregulated in granulosa cells during follicular atresia, although DDIT3 was not significantly different between early atretic and progressed atretic follicles. Spontaneous apoptosis was also observed in vitro in granulosa cells induced by serum deprivation or by the ER stress agent tunicamycin, both inducing similar increases in DDIT3 mRNA. Activating transcription factor-6 (ATF6) and ATF4 mRNAs were significantly increased during granulosa cell apoptosis in vivo; in contrast to ATF6, ATF4 mRNA was attenuated after 16 hr of culture despite the persistence of ER stress. Taken together, ER stress-dependent DDIT3 pathways may play an important role in the regulation of selective granulosa cell apoptosis in goat ovaries during early follicular atresia. Serum deprivation could also increase apoptosis of cultured granulosa cells through the ER stress pathway as both ATF6 and PERK/eIF2α/ATF4 signaling have been implicated in the granulosa cell apoptosis of atretic follicles.
    Molecular Reproduction and Development 04/2012; 79(6):423-32. · 2.81 Impact Factor