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 26 leading titles in life sciences and adjacent fields.

Current Opinion in Chemical Biology

5-Year Impact Factor: 8.189
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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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

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

Microfluidic single cell analysis: From promise to practice

Methods for single-cell analysis are critical to revealing cell-to-cell variability in biological systems, especially in cases where relevant minority cell populations can be obscured by population-averaged measurements. However, to date single cell studies have been limited by the cost and throughput required to examine large numbers of cells and the difficulties associated with analyzing small amounts of starting material. Microfluidic approaches are well suited to resolving these issues by…

Volume 16, Issue 3-4, 01 August 2012, Pp 381-390
Véronique Lecault | Adam K. White | Anupam Singhal | Carl L. Hansen

Metal-based anticancer chemotherapeutic agents

Since the discovery of the cisplatin antitumor activity, great efforts have focused on the rational design of metal-based anticancer agents that can be potentially used in cancer chemotherapy. Over the last four decades, a large number of metal complexes have been extensively investigated and evaluated in vitro and in vivo, and some of them were at different stages of clinical studies. Amongst these complexes, platinum (PtII and PtIV), ruthenium (RuII and RuIII), gold (AuI and AuIII) and…

Volume 19, Issue 1, 01 January 2014, Pp 144-153
Nafees Muhammad | Zijian Guo

Transcriptomics in the RNA-seq era

The transcriptomics field has developed rapidly with the advent of next-generation sequencing technologies. RNA-seq has now displaced microarrays as the preferred method for gene expression profiling.The comprehensive nature of the data generated has been a boon in terms of transcript identification but analysis challenges remain. Key among these problems is the development of suitable expression metrics for expression level comparisons and methods for identification of differentially expressed…

Volume 17, Issue 1, 01 February 2013, Pp 4-11
Paul A. McGettigan

Metal-associated amyloid-β species in Alzheimer's disease

Highly concentrated metals such as Cu, Zn, and Fe are found in amyloid-β (A. β) plaques within the brain of Alzheimer's disease (AD). In vitro and in vivo studies have suggested that metal binding to A. β could facilitate A. β aggregation and generate reactive oxygen species (ROS), which could contribute to the neuropathogenesis of AD. The connection between metal-A. β interaction/reactivity and AD development, however, has not been clearly revealed owing to the complexity of the disease. In…

Volume 16, Issue 1-2, 01 April 2012, Pp 67-73
Amit S. Pithadia | Mi Hee Lim

Targeted delivery of platinum-based anticancer complexes

The most widely used anticancer drugs are platinum-based. Their efficacy might be improved by carriers which can transport large numbers of Pt centres, shield the drug from premature activation, and/or deliver Pt specifically to cancer cells using vectors which recognise specific targets. We describe recent progress using functionalized carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and nanorods, hollow Prussian blue (HPB), magnetic iron oxide and gold nanoparticles, liposomes, nanogels and polymers, as well as…

Volume 17, Issue 2, 01 April 2013, Pp 175-188
Jennifer S. Butler | Peter J. Sadler

Recent developments in research on water oxidation by photosystem II

Photosynthetic water oxidation chemistry at the unique manganese-calcium complex of photosystem II (PSII) is of fundamental importance and serves as a paragon in the development of efficient synthetic catalysts. A recent crystal structure of PSII shows the atoms of the water-oxidizing complex; its Mn 4CaO 5 core resembles inorganic manganese-calcium oxides. Merging of crystallographic and spectroscopic information reverses radiation-induced modifications at the Mn-complex in silico and…

Volume 16, Issue 1-2, 01 April 2012, Pp 3-10
Holger Dau | Ivelina Zaharieva | Michael Haumann

Advances in targeted genome editing

New technologies have recently emerged that enable targeted editing of genomes in diverse systems. This includes precise manipulation of gene sequences in their natural chromosomal context and addition of transgenes to specific genomic loci. This progress has been facilitated by advances in engineering targeted nucleases with programmable, site-specific DNA-binding domains, including zinc finger proteins and transcription activator-like effectors (TALEs). Recent improvements have enhanced…

Volume 16, Issue 3-4, 01 August 2012, Pp 268-277
Pablo Perez-Pinera | David G. Ousterout | Charles A. Gersbach

Hydrothermal conversion of biomass to fuels and energetic materials

Available biomass, preferentially residues, can be divided in two groups: biomass with a high or natural water content ('wet' or 'green' biomass) and biomass with low water content such as wood and straw. In 'dry' biomass gasification processes, originating in most coal processing technologies, biomass of low water content is necessary to avoid the energy loss by water evaporation. In contrast, hydrothermal processes need water as reaction medium; therefore, these processes are preferentially…

Volume 17, Issue 3, 01 June 2013, Pp 515-521
Andrea Kruse | Axel Funke | Maria Magdalena Titirici

Protein conjugation with genetically encoded unnatural amino acids

The site-specific incorporation of unnatural amino acids with orthogonal chemical reactivity into proteins enables the synthesis of structurally defined protein conjugates. Amino acids containing ketone, azide, alkyne, alkene, and tetrazine side chains can be genetically encoded in response to nonsense and frameshift codons. These bio-orthogonal chemical handles allow precise control over the site and stoichiometry of conjugation, and have enabled medicinal chemistry-like optimization of the…

Volume 17, Issue 3, 01 June 2013, Pp 412-419
Chan Hyuk Kim | Jun Y. Axup | Peter G. Schultz

Combinatorial biosynthesis of polyketides-a perspective

Since their discovery, polyketide synthases have been attractive targets of biosynthetic engineering to make 'unnatural' natural products. Although combinatorial biosynthesis has made encouraging advances over the past two decades, the field remains in its infancy. In this enzyme-centric perspective, we discuss the scientific and technological challenges that could accelerate the adoption of combinatorial biosynthesis as a method of choice for the preparation of encoded libraries of bioactive…

Volume 16, Issue 1-2, 01 April 2012, Pp 117-123
Fong T. Wong | Chaitan Khosla

Targeting T cells to tumor cells using bispecific antibodies

The immune system, and in particular T cells, can be harnessed to treat cancer. Several bispecific T cell engaging antibodies of the BiTE® format are in early or late-stage clinical development. These small recombinant antibody constructs effectively trigger killing of cancer cells by temporarily attached, polyclonal T cells. Blinatumomab, a CD19/CD3-bispecific BiTE® antibody, has demonstrated high clinical activity in B cell leukemia and lymphoma patients. Three additional BiTE antibodies…

Volume 17, Issue 3, 01 June 2013, Pp 385-392
Stanley R. Frankel | Patrick A. Baeuerle

Strategies for the discovery and engineering of enzymes for biocatalysis

Protein engineering is the most important method to overcome the limitations of natural enzymes as biocatalysts. The past few years have seen a tremendous increase in novel concepts to facilitate the design of mutant libraries for focused directed evolution mostly guided by advanced bioinformatic tools. In addition, advanced high-throughput methods were developed using, for example, FACS analysis or microfluidic systems. These achievements significantly facilitate the tailor-made design of…

Volume 17, Issue 2, 01 April 2013, Pp 215-220
Timo Davids | Marlen Schmidt | Dominique Böttcher | Uwe T. Bornscheuer

Recent achievements in developing the biocatalytic toolbox for chiral amine synthesis

Creating new activities or extending the scope of existing enzymes by protein engineering is a common trend in biocatalysis and in chiral amine synthesis specifically. For instance, an amine dehydrogenase that allows for the direct asymmetric amination of ketones with ammonia was created by mutagenesis of an l-amino acid dehydrogenase. Another trend in chiral amine chemistry is the development of strategies allowing for the synthesis of secondary amines. For example the smart choice of…

Volume 19, Issue 1, 01 January 2014, Pp 180-192
Hannes Kohls | Fabian Steffen-Munsberg | Matthias Höhne

Trends in ultrasensitive proteomics

Here we review recent developments and trends in sample preparation, pre-fractionation, chromatography and mass spectrometry contributing towards the ultra-sensitive global analysis of proteins. Highly sensitive MS-based proteomics is not only beneficiary for the proteome analysis of single cells, an aim which is getting into reach, but also clearly relevant for the analysis of (a) subcellular organelles, (b) specific low-abundant cell-types such as adult stem cells, and (c) smaller but more…

Volume 16, Issue 1-2, 01 April 2012, Pp 206-213
A. F Maarten Altelaar | Albert J R Heck

On the development of new biocatalytic processes for practical pharmaceutical synthesis

Biocatalysis has established itself as a scalable and green technology for the production of a broad range of pharmaceutical APIs and intermediates. The number and scope of biocatalysts employed on large scale to deliver cost-advantaged and quality-advantaged processes to important substances continue to expand. This review discusses the recent developments in the field, including examples of processes leveraging hydrolases, reductases, transaminases, oxidases and other biocatalysts, focused on…

Volume 17, Issue 2, 01 April 2013, Pp 284-292
Gjalt W. Huisman | Steven J. Collier

Mechanisms of S-nitrosothiol formation and selectivity in nitric oxide signaling

Although it is widely accepted that S-nitrosation occurs in vivo, questions remain regarding S-nitrosation as a signaling mechanism. The chemistry of S-nitrosation includes NO oxidation to N2O3 followed by reaction with thiolates, radical recombination of NO and thiyl radicals, and transition metal catalyzed pathways. Once formed, nitrosothiols can be transferred between small molecule or protein thiols through transnitrosation reactions. The pathways that lead to selective S-nitrosation of…

Volume 16, Issue 5-6, 01 December 2012, Pp 498-506
Brian C. Smith | Michael A. Marletta

Exploring bacterial lignin degradation

Plant biomass represents a renewable carbon feedstock that could potentially be used to replace a significant level of petroleum-derived chemicals. One major challenge in its utilization is that the majority of this carbon is trapped in the recalcitrant structural polymers of the plant cell wall. Deconstruction of lignin is a key step in the processing of biomass to useful monomers but remains challenging. Microbial systems can provide molecular information on lignin depolymerization as they…

Volume 19, Issue 1, 01 April 2014, Pp 1-7
Margaret E. Brown | Michelle C Y Chang

Glycomics, glycoproteomics and the immune system

Glycomics and glycoproteomics have become indispensible tools in the study of glycoconjugates. Mass spectrometry based methods are standardly used to study the proteome and/or glycome and these approaches are capable of providing both, qualitative and quantitative information using top down techniques. The human immune system marks a particular area of interest for glycomics and glycoproteomics research since a large number of key proteins in innate and adaptive immunity are glycoproteins. In…

Volume 16, Issue , 01 April 2012, Pp
Daniel Kolarich | Bernd Lepenies | Peter H. Seeberger

Next generation biofuel engineering in prokaryotes

Next-generation biofuels must be compatible with current transportation infrastructure and be derived from environmentally sustainable resources that do not compete with food crops. Many bacterial species have unique properties advantageous to the production of such next-generation fuels. However, no single species possesses all characteristics necessary to make high quantities of fuels from plant waste or CO2. Species containing a subset of the desired characteristics are used as starting…

Volume 17, Issue 3, 01 June 2013, Pp 462-471
Luisa S. Gronenberg | Ryan J. Marcheschi | James C. Liao

De novo enzymes by computational design

Computational enzyme design has emerged as a promising tool for generating made-to-order biocatalysts. In addition to improving the reliability of the design cycle, current efforts in this area are focusing on expanding the set of catalyzed reactions and investigating the structure and mechanism of individual designs. Although the activities of de novo enzymes are typically low, they can be significantly increased by directed evolution. Analysis of their evolutionary trajectories provides…

Volume 17, Issue 2, 01 April 2013, Pp 221-228
Hajo Kries | Rebecca Blomberg | Donald Hilvert

Ribosomal production and in vitro selection of natural product-like peptidomimetics: The FIT and RaPID systems

Bioactive natural product peptides have diverse architectures such as non-standard sidechains and a macrocyclic backbone bearing modifications. In vitro translation of peptides bearing these features would provide the research community with a diverse collection of natural product peptide-like molecules with a potential for drug development. The ordinary in vitro translation system, however, is not amenable to the incorporation of non-proteinogenic amino acids or genetic encoding of macrocyclic…

Volume 16, Issue 1-2, 01 April 2012, Pp 196-203
Christopher J. Hipolito | Hiroaki Suga

Trans-Cyclooctene-a stable, voracious dienophile for bioorthogonal labeling

Discussed herein is the development and advancement of trans-cyclooctene as a tool for facilitating bioorthogonal labeling through reactions with s-tetrazines. While a number of strained alkenes have been shown to combine with tetrazines for applications in bioorthogonal labeling, trans-cyclooctene enables fastest reactivity at low concentration with rate constants in excess of k2=106M-1s-1. In the present article, we describe advances in computation and synthesis that have enabled applications…

Volume 17, Issue 5, 01 October 2013, Pp 753-760
Ramajeyam Selvaraj | Joseph M. Fox