Lei Chen

Shandong University of Technology, Chang-tien-shih, Shandong Sheng, China

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Publications (4)14.17 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: To explore whether the generation of new protein folds could be linked to metallic cofactor recruitment, we identified the oldest examples of folds for manganese, iron, zinc, and copper proteins by analyzing their fold-domain mapping patterns. We discovered that the generation of these folds was tightly coupled to corresponding metals. We found that the emerging order for these folds, i.e., manganese and iron protein folds appeared earlier than zinc and copper counterparts, coincides with the putative bioavailability of the corresponding metals in the ancient anoxic ocean. Therefore, we conclude that metallic cofactors, like organic cofactors, play an evolutionary role in the formation of new protein folds. This link could be explained by the emergence of protein structures with novel folds that could fulfill the new protein functions introduced by the metallic cofactors. These findings not only have important implications for understanding the evolutionary mechanisms of protein architectures, but also provide a further interpretation for the evolutionary story of superoxide dismutases.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2009 · BioEssays
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    Hong-Fang Ji · Lei Chen · Hong-Yu Zhang
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    ABSTRACT: Protein redox reactions are one of the most basic and important biochemical actions. As amino acids are weak redox mediators, most protein redox functions are undertaken by protein cofactors, which include organic ligands and transition metal ions. Since both kinds of redox cofactors were available in the pre-protein RNA world, it is challenging to explore which one was more involved in redox processes of primitive proteins? In this paper, using an examination of the redox cofactor usage of putative ancient proteins, we infer that organic ligands participated more frequently than transition metals in redox reactions of primitive proteins, at least as protein cofactors. This is further supported by the relative abundance of amino acids in the primordial world. Supplementary material for this article can be found on the BioEssays website.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2008 · BioEssays
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    ABSTRACT: Tracing the characters of very ancient proteins represents one of the biggest challenges in the study of origin of life. Although there are no primitive protein fossils remaining, the characters of very ancient proteins can be traced by molecular fossils embedded in modern proteins. In this paper, first the prior findings in this area are outlined and then a new strategy is proposed to address the intriguing issue. It is interesting to find that various molecular fossils and different protein datasets lead to similar conclusions on the features of very ancient proteins, which can be summarized as follows: (i) the architectures of very ancient proteins belong to the following folds: P-loop containing nucleoside triphosphate hydrolases (c.37), TIM beta/alpha-barrel (c.1), NAD(P)-binding Rossmann-fold domains (c.2), Ferredoxin-like (d.58), Flavodoxin-like (c.23) and Ribonuclease H-like motif (c.55); (ii) the functions of very ancient proteins are related to the metabolisms of purine, pyrimidine, porphyrin, chlorophyll and carbohydrates; (iii) a certain part of very ancient proteins need cofactors (such as ATP, NADH or NADPH) to work normally.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2008 · Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
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    Lei Chen · Hong-Yu Zhang
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    ABSTRACT: Accumulating evidence indicates that consumption of tea, especially green tea, is good for preventing cancer. To elucidate the cancer preventive mechanisms of green tea, much effort has been devoted to investigating the anticancer effects of (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the major component of green tea. It has been revealed that EGCG restrained carcinogenesis in a variety of tissues through inhibition of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK), growth factor-related cell signaling, activation of activator protein 1 (AP-1) and nuclear factor-B (NF-kappaB), topoisomerase I, matrix metalloproteinases and other potential targets. Therefore, EGCG is a multipotent anticancer agent, which not only provides solid evidence to support the anticancer potential of green tea, but also offers new clues for discovering multiple-targeted anticancer drugs.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2007 · Molecules

Publication Stats

106 Citations
14.17 Total Impact Points


  • 2009
    • Shandong University of Technology
      • School of Life Sciences
      Chang-tien-shih, Shandong Sheng, China
  • 2007-2008
    • Shandong Normal University
      Chi-nan-shih, Shandong Sheng, China