The Current Opinion journals were developed out of the recognition that it is increasingly difficult for specialists to keep up to date with the expanding volume of information published in their subject. Elsevier’s Current Opinion journals comprise of 17 leading titles in life sciences and adjacent fields.

Current Opinion in Chemical Biology

5-Year Impact Factor: 8.501
Issues per year: 6 issues
Editorial Board

Current Opinion in Chemical Biology

The Current Opinion journals were developed out of the recognition that it is increasingly difficult for specialists to keep up to date with the expanding volume of information published in their subject. In Current Opinion in Chemical Biology, we help the reader by providing in a systematic manner:
1. The views of experts on current advances in chemical biology in a clear and readable form.
2. Evaluations of the most interesting papers, annotated by experts, from the great wealth of original publications.

Division of the subject into sections:
The subject of chemical biology is divided into themed sections which are reviewed regularly to keep them relevant. For 2015 they are:

  • Omics
  • Bioinorganic chemistry
  • Biocatalysis and Biotransformation
  • Next Generation Therapeutics
  • Molecular Imaging
  • Synthetic Biology
  • Synthetic Biomolecules
  • Energy
  • Mechanistic Biology

Selection of topics to be reviewed:
Section Editors, who are major authorities in the field, are appointed by the Editors of the journal. They divide their section into a number of topics, ensuring that the field is comprehensively covered and that all issues of current importance are emphasised. Section Editors commission reviews from authorities on each topic that they have selected.

Authors write short review articles in which they present recent developments in their subject, emphasising the aspects that, in their opinion, are most important. In addition, they provide short annotations to the papers that they consider to be most interesting from all those published in their topic over the previous year.

Editorial Overview:
Section Editors write a short overview at the beginning of the section to introduce the reviews and to draw the reader's attention to any particularly interesting developments.
This successful format has made Current Opinion in Chemical Biology one of the most highly regarded and highly cited review journals in the field.

Ethics in Publishing: General Statement
The Editor(s) and Publisher of this Journal believe that there are fundamental principles underlying scholarly or professional publishing. While this may not amount to a formal 'code of conduct', these fundamental principles with respect to the authors' paper are that the paper should: i) be the authors' own original work, which has not been previously published elsewhere, ii) reflect the authors' own research and analysis and do so in a truthful and complete manner, iii) properly credit the meaningful contributions of co-authors and co-researchers, iv) not be submitted to more than one journal for consideration, and v) be appropriately placed in the context of prior and existing research. Of equal importance are ethical guidelines dealing with research methods and research funding, including issues dealing with informed consent, research subject privacy rights, conflicts of interest, and sources of funding. While it may not be possible to draft a 'code' that applies adequately to all instances and circumstances, we believe it useful to outline our expectations of authors and procedures that the Journal will employ in the event of questions concerning author conduct. With respect to conflicts of interest, the Publisher now requires authors to declare any conflicts of interest that relate to papers accepted for publication in this Journal. A conflict of interest may exist when an author or the author's institution has a financial or other relationship with other people or organizations that may inappropriately influence the author's work. A conflict can be actual or potential and full disclosure to the Journal is the safest course. All submissions to the Journal must include disclosure of all relationships that could be viewed as presenting a potential conflict of interest. The Journal may use such information as a basis for editorial decisions and may publish such disclosures if they are believed to be important to readers in judging the manuscript. A decision may be made by the Journal not to publish on the basis of the declared conflict.

For more information, please refer to:

Best Cited over the last year.

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Near-infrared fluorescence: application to in vivo molecular imaging

Molecular imaging often relies on the use of targeted and activatable reporters to quantitate and visualize targets, biological processes, and cells in vivo. The use of optical probes with near-infrared fluorescence allows for improved photon penetration through tissue and minimizes the effects of tissue autofluorescence. There are several parameters that define the effectiveness of imaging agents in vivo. These factors include probe targeting, activation, pharmacokinetics, biocompatibility,…

Volume 14, Issue 1, 01 February 2010, Pp 71-79
Scott A. Hilderbrand | Ralph Weissleder

Privileged scaffolds for library design and drug discovery

This review explores the concept of using privileged scaffolds to identify biologically active compounds through building chemical libraries. We hope to accomplish three main objectives: to provide one of the most comprehensive listings of privileged scaffolds; to reveal through four selected examples the present state of the art in privileged scaffold library synthesis (in hopes of inspiring new and even more creative approaches); and also to offer some thoughts on how new privileged scaffolds…

Volume 14, Issue 3, 01 June 2010, Pp 347-361
Matthew E. Welsch | Scott A. Snyder | Brent R. Stockwell

Antibody-drug conjugates: Targeted drug delivery for cancer

The antibody-drug conjugate field has made significant progress recently owing to careful optimization of several parameters, including mAb specificity, drug potency, linker technology, and the stoichiometry and placement of conjugated drugs. The underlying reason for this has been obtained in pre-clinical biodistribution and pharmacokinetics studies showing that targeted delivery leads to high intratumoral free drug concentrations, while non-target tissues are largely spared from…

Volume 14, Issue 4, 01 August 2010, Pp 529-537
Stephen C. Alley | Nicole M. Okeley | Peter D. Senter

Upconverting luminescent nanoparticles for use in bioconjugation and bioimaging

Upconverting luminescent nanoparticles (UCNPs) display the unique property of emitting visible light following photoexcitation with near-infrared laser light. This results in features such as virtually zero autofluorescence of (biological) matter and easy separation of the emission peaks from stray light. Other features include rather narrow emission bands, very high chemical stability, the lack of bleaching, and the absence of blinking effects. This article reviews the work performed in the…

Volume 14, Issue 5, 01 October 2010, Pp 582-596
Heike S. Mader | Peter Kele | Sayed M. Saleh | Otto S. Wolfbeis

Metal-organic frameworks as potential drug carriers

Nanoparticle-based therapeutics have received increasing attention, as these systems can alleviate many drawbacks of conventional therapy. Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), a new class of hybrid materials composed of metal ions and organic bridging ligands, have emerged as a promising platform for drug delivery, owing to their high drug loadings, biodegradability, and versatile functionality. The bulk MOF materials can absorb and release large amounts of therapeutics including ibuprofen,…

Volume 14, Issue 2, 01 April 2010, Pp 262-268
Rachel C. Huxford | Joseph Della Rocca | Wenbin Lin

NIR dyes for bioimaging applications

Fluorescent dyes based on small organic molecules that function in the near infrared (NIR) region are of great current interest in chemical biology. They allow for imaging with minimal autofluorescence from biological samples, reduced light scattering, and high tissue penetration. Herein, examples of ongoing NIR fluorophore design strategies as well as their properties and anticipated applications relevant to the bioimaging are presented. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Volume 14, Issue 1, 01 February 2010, Pp 64-70
Jorge O. Escobedo | Oleksandr Rusin | Soojin Lim | Robert M. Strongin

Recent advances in multicomponent reactions for diversity-oriented synthesis

Interest in multicomponent reactions (MCRs) has surged during the past two decades as interest in the efficient synthesis of small molecule libraries has gained prominence. MCRs fill an important niche in library synthesis by providing direct access to library compounds and by serving as starting points for Diversity-Oriented Synthesis (DOS). Recent advances in the area of MCR chemistry have included the discovery of new reactions, development of the first asymmetric catalysts, and the…

Volume 14, Issue 3, 01 June 2010, Pp 371-382
James E. Biggs-Houck | Ashkaan Younai | Jared T. Shaw

Nutritional immunity beyond iron: a role for manganese and zinc

Vertebrates sequester iron from invading pathogens, and conversely, pathogens express a variety of factors to steal iron from the host. Recent work has demonstrated that in addition to iron, vertebrates sequester zinc and manganese both intracellularly and extracellularly to protect against infection. Intracellularly, vertebrates utilize the ZIP/ZnT families of transporters to manipulate zinc levels, as well as Nramp1 to manipulate manganese levels. Extracellularly, the S100 protein…

Volume 14, Issue 2, 01 April 2010, Pp 218-224
Thomas E. Kehl-Fie | Eric P. Skaar

Imaging mobile zinc in biology

Trafficking and regulation of mobile zinc pools influence cellular functions and pathological conditions in multiple organs, including brain, pancreas, and prostate. The quest for a dynamic description of zinc distribution and mobilization in live cells fuels the development of increasingly sophisticated probes. Detection systems that respond to zinc binding with changes of their fluorescence emission properties have provided sensitive tools for mobile zinc imaging, and fluorescence microscopy…

Volume 14, Issue 2, 01 April 2010, Pp 225-230
Elisa Tomat | Stephen J. Lippard

Development of responsive lanthanide probes for cellular applications

Useful probes of the intracellular environment are required for a wide range of bioactive species including metal ions, oxyanions and pH. These probes need to be targeted to specific organelles (mitochondria, nucleus and lysosomes) in order to allow direct observation of the changes in these regions. Critical probe design features for luminescent lanthanide complexes are defined, together with a review of published sub-cellular localisation profiles. Cell uptake by macropinocytosis has been…

Volume 14, Issue 2, 01 April 2010, Pp 238-246
Elizabeth J. New | David Parker | David G. Smith | James W. Walton

Drug-target residence time: Critical information for lead optimization

Failure due to poor in vivo efficacy is a primary contributor to attrition during the development of new chemotherapeutics. Lead optimization programs that in their quest for efficacy focus solely on improving the affinity of drug-target binding are flawed, since this approach ignores the fluctuations in drug concentration that occur in vivo. Instead the lifetime of the drug-target complex must also be considered, since drugs only act when they are bound to their targets. Consequently, to…

Volume 14, Issue 4, 01 August 2010, Pp 467-474
Hao Lu | Peter J. Tonge

Genomics-inspired discovery of natural products

The massive surge in genome sequencing projects has opened our eyes to the overlooked biosynthetic potential and metabolic diversity of microorganisms. While traditional approaches have been successful at identifying many useful therapeutic agents from these organisms, new tactics are needed in order to exploit their true biosynthetic potential. Several genomics-inspired strategies have been successful in unveiling new metabolites that were overlooked under standard fermentation and detection…

Volume 15, Issue 1, 01 February 2011, Pp 22-31
Jaclyn M. Winter | Swantje Behnken | Christian Hertweck

Practical chiral alcohol manufacture using ketoreductases

Over the past two years the application of ketoreductases in the commercial synthesis of chiral alcohols has undergone a revolution. Biocatalysts are now often the preferred catalyst for the synthesis of chiral alcohols via ketone reduction and are displacing reagents and chemocatalysts that only recently were considered break-through process solutions themselves. Tailor-made enzymes can now be generated from advanced, non-natural variants using HTP screening and modern molecular biology…

Volume 14, Issue 2, 01 April 2010, Pp 122-129
Gjalt W. Huisman | Jack Liang | Anke Krebber

Mitochondrial-targeted fluorescent probes for reactive oxygen species

As the primary consumers of oxygen within all aerobic organisms, mitochondria are a major source of cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) derived from the in vivo chemistry of oxygen metabolism. Mitochondrial ROS have been traditionally implicated in aging and in a variety of pathologies, including cancer, neurodegeneration, and diabetes, but recent studies also link controlled mitochondrial ROS fluxes to cell regulation and signaling events. Progress in the development of…

Volume 14, Issue 1, 01 February 2010, Pp 50-56
Bryan C. Dickinson | Duangkhae Srikun | Christopher J. Chang

Apparent activity in high-throughput screening: origins of compound-dependent assay interference

Expansive compound collections made up of structurally heterogeneous chemicals, the activities of which are largely undefined, present challenging problems for high-throughput screening (HTS). Foremost is differentiating whether the activity for a given compound in an assay is directed against the targeted biology, or is the result of surreptitious compound activity involving the assay detection system. Such compound interference can be especially difficult to identify if it is reproducible and…

Volume 14, Issue 3, 01 June 2010, Pp 315-324
Natasha Thorne | Douglas S. Auld | James Inglese

Deracemisation methods

New methods continue to be developed for the dynamic kinetic resolution (DKR) and deracemisation of racemic chiral compounds, in particular alcohols, amines and amino acids. Many of the DKR processes involve the combination of an enantioselective enzyme, often a lipase or protease, with a metal racemisation catalyst. A greater range of ruthenium-based racemisation catalysts is now available with some showing good activity for the racemisation of amines that are more difficult to epimerise than…

Volume 14, Issue 2, 01 April 2010, Pp 115-121
Nicholas J. Turner

Intrinsically disordered proteins are potential drug targets

Intrinsically disordered (ID) proteins that lack stable secondary and tertiary structure in substantial regions (or throughout) are prevalent in eukaryotes. They exist as ensembles of rapidly fluctuating structures and many undergo coupled folding and binding reactions. Because ID proteins are overrepresented in major disease pathways they are desirable targets for inhibition; however, the feasibility of targeting proteins without defined structures was unclear. Recently, small molecules have…

Volume 14, Issue 4, 01 August 2010, Pp 481-488
Steven J. Metallo

The potential of organometallic complexes in medicinal chemistry

Organometallic complexes have unique physico-chemical properties, which have been widely used in homogenous catalysis, for example, for the synthesis of lead compounds and drug candidates. Over the past two decades, a few scientists from all over the world have extended the use of the specific characteristics of these compounds (e.g. structural diversity, possibility of ligand exchange, redox and catalytic properties) for medicinal purposes. The results are stunning. A few organometallic…

Volume 16, Issue 1-2, 01 April 2012, Pp 84-91
Gilles Gasser | Nils Metzler-Nolte

Discovery and development of Hsp90 inhibitors: a promising pathway for cancer therapy

The Hsp90 chaperone is a master regulator of the stability and activity of multiple oncoproteins such as Her2, Akt, Bcr-Abl, c-Kit, EGFR and mutant BRAF. The promise of inhibition of such a master regulator for cancer therapy is the potential to cause combinatorial inhibition of multiple oncogenic signaling pathways simultaneously. With the recent discovery of feedback loops that effectively negate the efficacy of selectively targeted anti-cancer agents, there is renewed interest in such a…

Volume 14, Issue 3, 01 June 2010, Pp 412-420
James R. Porter | Christian C. Fritz | Kristopher M. Depew

Enzyme dynamics point to stepwise conformational selection in catalysis

Recent data increasingly reveal that conformational dynamics are indispensable to enzyme function throughout the catalytic cycle, in substrate recruiting, chemical transformation, and product release. Conformational transitions may involve conformational selection and induced fit, which can be viewed as a special case in the catalytic network. NMR, X-ray crystallography, single-molecule FRET, and simulations clearly demonstrate that the free enzyme dynamics already encompass all the…

Volume 14, Issue 5, 01 October 2010, Pp 652-659
Buyong Ma | Ruth Nussinov

The SNO-proteome: Causation and classifications

Cell signaling is a complex and highly regulated process. Post-translational modifications of proteins serve to sense and transduce cellular signals in a precisely coordinated manner. It is increasingly recognized that protein S-nitrosylation, the addition of a nitric oxide group to cysteine thiols, serves an important role in a wide range of signaling pathways. In spite of the large number of SNO-proteins now identified (∼1000), the observed specificity of S-nitrosylation in terms of target…

Volume 15, Issue 1, 01 February 2011, Pp 129-136
Divya Seth | Jonathan S. Stamler

Metal complexes in medicine with a focus on enzyme inhibition

Since the clinical success of cisplatin and its derivatives, considerable effort has been expended by academics and pharmacological companies to the development of novel metal-based drugs. DNA is believed to be the main target of cisplatin, and there have been extensive studies on the binding between metal complexes and DNA targets. Recently, new light has been shed on the discovery of metal-based drugs that inhibit enzymatic activities or even target proteins directly. This review highlights…

Volume 14, Issue 2, 01 January 2010, Pp 255-261
Chi Ming Che | Fung Ming Siu

Guided by the light: visualizing biomolecular processes in living animals with bioluminescence

Bioluminescence imaging (BLI) exploits the light-emitting properties of luciferase enzymes for monitoring cells and biomolecular processes in living subjects. Luciferases can be incorporated into a variety of nonluminescent hosts and used to track cells, visualize gene expression, and analyze collections of biomolecules. This article highlights recent applications of BLI to studies of mammalian biology, along with the development of novel bioluminescent probes to 'see' cells and molecules in…

Volume 14, Issue 1, 01 February 2010, Pp 80-89
Jennifer A. Prescher | Christopher H. Contag

Fluorescent probes for sensing and imaging biological hydrogen sulfide

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has long been recognized as a toxic molecule in biological systems. However, emerging studies now link controlled fluxes of this reactive sulfur species to cellular regulation and signaling events akin to other small molecule messengers, such as nitric oxide, hydrogen peroxide, and carbon monoxide. Progress in the development of fluorescent small-molecule indicators with high selectivity for hydrogen sulfide offers a promising approach for studying its production,…

Volume 16, Issue 5-6, 01 December 2012, Pp 595-601
Vivian S. Lin | Christopher J. Chang

Current strategies for diversity-oriented synthesis

Compounds accessed through diversity-oriented synthesis (DOS) are showing promise in modulating the activities of several targets that are currently considered 'undruggable'. Recently many new DOS pathways have been developed employing multi-component reactions, cycloadditions, ring-closing metathesis and tandem processes. Functional group pairing and 'build/couple/pair' strategies have been described as a means for generating structural diversity. Efforts have also been directed towards…

Volume 14, Issue 3, 01 June 2010, Pp 362-370
Sivaraman Dandapani | Lisa A. Marcaurelle