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 Microbiology

5-Year Impact Factor: 7.684
Issues per year: 6 issues
Editorial Board

Current Opinion in Microbiology

Current Opinion in Microbiology is a systematic review journal that aims to provide specialists with a unique and educational platform to keep up-to-date with the expanding volume of information published in the field of microbiology. It consists of 6 issues per year covering the following 11 sections, each of which is reviewed once a year:

  • Host-microbe interactions: bacteria
  • Cell regulation
  • Ecology and industrial microbiology
  • Host-microbe interactions: fungi/parasites/viruses
  • Antimicrobials
  • Genomics
  • Growth and development: eukaryotes/prokaryotes

There is also a section that changes every year to reflect hot topics in the field.

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Best Cited over the last year.

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Quorum sensing and environmental adaptation in Pseudomonas aeruginosa: a tale of regulatory networks and multifunctional signal molecules

Bacteria employ sophisticated cell-to-cell communication or 'quorum sensing' (QS) systems for promoting collective behaviours that depend on the actions of one or more chemically distinct diffusible signal molecules. As determinants of cell population density, multiple QS systems are often integrated with each other and within global regulatory networks and subject to the prevailing environmental conditions as well as the presence and activities of other organisms. QS signal molecules, although…

Volume 12, Issue 2, 01 April 2009, Pp 182-191
Paul Mickey Williams | Miguel Ángel Cámara

The type VI secretion system: translocation of effectors and effector-domains

A number of prominent Gram-negative bacteria use the type VI secretion system (T6SS) to transport proteins across the bacterial envelope. Rapid progress is being made in elucidating the structural components of the T6SS apparatus, and a few effectors have been reported to pass through it. However, this is not the complete story: a family of T6SS proteins, the VgrGs, share structural features with the cell-puncturing device of the T4 bacteriophage, and may be used in a similar fashion by…

Volume 12, Issue 1, 01 February 2009, Pp 11-17
Stefan U. Pukatzki | Steven B. McAuley | Sarah T. Miyata

Alarming β-lactamase-mediated resistance in multidrug-resistant Enterobacteriaceae

Resistance to β-lactams and other antibiotics in the Enterobacteriaceae is frequently associated with plasmidic resistance determinants that are easily transferred among species. β-Lactamase-mediated resistance is increasingly associated with plasmid-encoded extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) and carbapenemases, specifically the CTX-M family of ESBLs, the KPC family of serine carbapenemases, and the VIM, IMP, and NDM-1 metallo-β-lactamases. Although clonal dispersion of resistant isolates…

Volume 13, Issue 5, 01 October 2010, Pp 558-564
Karen Bush

Salmonella takes control: effector-driven manipulation of the host

Salmonella pathogenesis relies upon the delivery of over thirty specialised effector proteins into the host cell via two distinct type III secretion systems. These effectors act in concert to subvert the host cell cytoskeleton, signal transduction pathways, membrane trafficking and pro-inflammatory responses. This allows Salmonella to invade non-phagocytic epithelial cells, establish and maintain an intracellular replicative niche and, in some cases, disseminate to cause systemic disease. This…

Volume 12, Issue 1, 01 February 2009, Pp 117-124
Emma J. McGhie | Lyndsey C. Brawn | Peter J. Hume | Daniel E. Humphreys | Vassilis E. Koronakis

The role of Hfq in bacterial pathogens

The ubiquitous RNA-binding protein, Hfq, has been shown to be required for the fitness and virulence of an increasing number of bacterial pathogens. Mutants lacking Hfq are often sensitive to host defense mechanisms and highly attenuated in animal models, albeit there is considerable variation in both severity and extent of phenotypes. RNomics and deep sequencing (RNA-seq) approaches discovered the small RNA and mRNA targets of Hfq, and indicated that this protein might impact on the expression…

Volume 13, Issue 1, 01 February 2010, Pp 24-33
Yanjie Chao | Jörg Vogel

CRISPR-based adaptive immune systems

CRISPR-Cas systems are recently discovered, RNA-based immune systems that control invasions of viruses and plasmids in archaea and bacteria. Prokaryotes with CRISPR-Cas immune systems capture short invader sequences within the CRISPR loci in their genomes, and small RNAs produced from the CRISPR loci (CRISPR (cr)RNAs) guide Cas proteins to recognize and degrade (or otherwise silence) the invading nucleic acids. There are multiple variations of the pathway found among prokaryotes, each mediated…

Volume 14, Issue 3, 01 June 2011, Pp 321-327
Michael P. Terns | Rebecca M. Terns

Antibiotic resistance in the environment: A link to the clinic?

The emergence of resistance to all classes of antibiotics in previously susceptible bacterial pathogens is a major challenge to infectious disease medicine. The origin of the genes associated with resistance has long been a mystery. There is a growing body of evidence that is demonstrating that environmental microbes are highly drug resistant. The genes that make up this environmental resistome have the potential to be transferred to pathogens and indeed there is some evidence that at least…

Volume 13, Issue 5, 01 October 2010, Pp 589-594
Gerard D. Wright

The Thaumarchaeota: An emerging view of their phylogeny and ecophysiology

Thaumarchaeota range among the most abundant archaea on Earth. Initially classified as 'mesophilic Crenarchaeota', comparative genomics has recently revealed that they form a separate and deep-branching phylum within the Archaea. This novel phylum comprises in 16S rRNA gene trees not only all known archaeal ammonia oxidizers but also several clusters of environmental sequences representing microorganisms with unknown energy metabolism. Ecophysiological studies of ammonia-oxidizing…

Volume 14, Issue 3, 01 June 2011, Pp 300-306
Michael Pester | Christa Schleper | Michael G. Wagner

New microbial fuels: a biotech perspective

Bioethanol and plant oil-derived biodiesel are generally considered first generation biofuels. Recognizing their apparent disadvantages, scientists and engineers are developing more sustainable and economically feasible second generation biofuels. The new microbial fuels summarized here have great potential to become viable replacements or at least supplements of petroleum-derived liquid transportation fuels. Yields and efficiencies of the four metabolic pathways leading to these microbial…

Volume 12, Issue 3, 01 June 2009, Pp 274-281
Mathew A. Rude | Andreas Schirmer

Role of Pseudomonas aeruginosa type III effectors in disease

Pseudomonas aeruginosa uses a type III secretion system (T3SS) to directly inject four known effectors into host cells. ExoU is a potent cytotoxin with phospholipase A2 activity that causes rapid necrotic death in many cell types. The biological function of ExoY, an adenylate cyclase, remains incompletely defined. ExoS and ExoT are closely related bifunctional proteins with N-terminal GTPase activating protein (GAP) activity toward Rho family proteins and C-terminal ADP ribosylase (ADPRT)…

Volume 12, Issue 1, 01 February 2009, Pp 61-66
Joanne N. Engel | Priya Balachandran

Pseudomonas syringae type III secretion system effectors: repertoires in search of functions

The ability of Pseudomonas syringae to grow and cause diseases in plants is dependent on the injection of multiple effector proteins into plant cells via the type III secretion system (T3SS). Genome-enabled bioinformatic/experimental methods have comprehensively identified the repertoires of effectors and related T3SS substrates for P. syringae pv. tomato DC3000 and three other sequenced strains. The effector repertoires are diverse and internally redundant. Insights into effector functions are…

Volume 12, Issue 1, 01 February 2009, Pp 53-60
Sébastien Cunnac | Magdalen Lindeberg | Alan Collmer

ESX/type VII secretion systems and their role in host-pathogen interaction

The ESX-1 system is responsible for the secretion of the prototypic ESX proteins, namely the 6 kDa early secreted antigenic target (ESAT-6) and the 10 kDa culture filtrate protein (CFP-10). These two proteins, which form a 1:1 heterodimeric complex, are among the most important proteins of Mycobacterium tuberculosis involved in host-pathogen interaction. They induce a strong T cell mediated immune response, are apparently involved in membrane and/or host-cell lysis and represent key virulence…

Volume 12, Issue 1, 01 February 2009, Pp 4-10
Roxane Siméone | Daria Bottai | Roland Brosch

The biomass objective function

Flux balance analysis (FBA) is a mathematical approach for analyzing the flow of metabolites through a metabolic network. To computationally predict cell growth using FBA, one has to determine the biomass objective function that describes the rate at which all of the biomass precursors are made in the correct proportions. Here we review fundamental issues associated with its formulation and use to compute optimal growth states. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Volume 13, Issue 3, 01 June 2010, Pp 344-349
Adam M. Feist | Bernhard Oø Palsson

Polyhydroxyalkanoates: bioplastics with a green agenda

Production of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) has been investigated for more than eighty years but recently a number of factors including increase in the price of crude oil and public awareness of the environmental issues have become a notable driving force for extended research on biopolymers. The versatility of PHAs has made them good candidates for the study of their potential in a variety of areas from biomedical/medical fields to food, packaging, textile and household material. While…

Volume 13, Issue 3, 01 June 2010, Pp 321-326
Tajalli Keshavarz | Ipsita Roy

The clinical consequences of antimicrobial resistance

The continued evolution of antimicrobial resistance in the hospital and more recently in the community threatens to seriously compromise our ability to treat serious infections. The major success of the seven-valent Streptococcus pneumoniae vaccine at reducing both infection and resistance has been followed by the emergence of previously minor serotypes that express multiresistance. The almost universal activity of cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones against community Escherichia coli strains…

Volume 12, Issue 5, 01 October 2009, Pp 476-481
Louis B. Rice

Role of reactive oxygen species in antibiotic action and resistance

The alarming spread of bacterial strains exhibiting resistance to current antibiotic therapies necessitates that we elucidate the specific genetic and biochemical responses underlying drug-mediated cell killing, so as to increase the efficacy of available treatments and develop new antibacterials. Recent research aimed at identifying such cellular contributions has revealed that antibiotics induce changes in metabolism that promote the formation of reactive oxygen species, which play a role in…

Volume 12, Issue 5, 01 October 2009, Pp 482-489
Daniel J. Dwyer | Michael A. Kohanski | James John Collins

Activation of gene expression by small RNA

Small regulatory RNAs (sRNAs) commonly act to downregulate gene expression. In bacteria, however, sRNAs have also been shown to activate genes by a variety of direct or indirect mechanisms. Several sRNAs (DsrA, GlmZ, RNAIII, RprA, RyhB, and Qrr) act as direct translational activators by an 'anti-antisense mechanism' in the 5′ mRNA region to liberate a sequestered ribosome binding site, while pairing of GadY sRNA to the 3′-end alters processing and increases stability of its target mRNA.…

Volume 12, Issue 6, 01 December 2009, Pp 674-682
Kathrin Sophie Fröhlich | Jörg Vogel

Experimental approaches for the discovery and characterization of regulatory small RNA

Following the pioneering screens for small regulatory RNAs (sRNAs) in Escherichia coli in 2001, sRNAs are now being identified in almost every branch of the eubacterial kingdom. Experimental strategies have become increasingly important for sRNA discovery, thanks to increased availability of tiling arrays and fast progress in the development of high-throughput cDNA sequencing (RNA-Seq). The new technologies also facilitate genome-wide discovery of potential target mRNAs by sRNA pulse-expression…

Volume 12, Issue 5, 01 October 2009, Pp 536-546
Cynthia Mira Sharma | Jörg Vogel

Diversity of structure and function of response regulator output domains

Response regulators (RRs) within two-component signal transduction systems control a variety of cellular processes. Most RRs contain DNA-binding output domains and serve as transcriptional regulators. Other RR types contain RNA-binding, ligand-binding, protein-binding or transporter output domains and exert regulation at the transcriptional, post-transcriptional or post-translational levels. In a significant fraction of RRs, output domains are enzymes that themselves participate in signal…

Volume 13, Issue 2, 01 April 2010, Pp 150-159
Michael Yu Galperín

Antibiotic resistance gene spread due to manure application on agricultural fields

The usage of antibiotics in animal husbandry has promoted the development and abundance of antibiotic resistance in farm environments. Manure has become a reservoir of resistant bacteria and antibiotic compounds, and its application to agricultural soils is assumed to significantly increase antibiotic resistance genes and selection of resistant bacterial populations in soil. The genome location of resistance genes is likely to shift towards mobile genetic elements such as broad-host-range…

Volume 14, Issue 3, 01 June 2011, Pp 236-243
Holger Heuer | Heike Schmitt | Kornelia Smalla

The effector repertoire of enteropathogenic E. coli: ganging up on the host cell

Diarrhoeal disease caused by enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) is dependent on a delivery system that injects numerous bacterial 'effector' proteins directly into host cells. The best-described EPEC effectors are encoded together on the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) pathogenicity island and display high levels of multifunctionality and cooperativity within the host cell. More recently, effectors encoded outside the LEE (non-LEE effectors) have been discovered and their functions are…

Volume 12, Issue 1, 01 February 2009, Pp 101-109
Paul Dean | Brendan Kenny

Global regulation by the seven-component Pi signaling system

This review concerns how Escherichia coli detects environmental inorganic orthophosphate (Pi) to regulate genes of the phosphate (Pho) regulon by the PhoR/PhoB two-component system (TCS). Pi control by the PhoR/PhoB TCS is a paradigm of a bacterial signal transduction pathway in which occupancy of a cell surface receptor(s) controls gene expression in the cytoplasm. The Pi signaling pathway requires seven proteins, all of which probably interact in a membrane-associated signaling complex. Our…

Volume 13, Issue 2, 01 April 2010, Pp 198-203
Yiju Hsieh | Barry L. Wanner

Structure, function and inhibition of RND efflux pumps in Gram-negative bacteria: an update

Resistance nodulation division efflux systems have a major role in both intrinsic and acquired multi-drug resistance in Gram-negative bacteria. The recent structure of an assembled tripartite system, AcrAB-TolC, revealed that AcrB is docked onto TolC, which remains in an open state once part of the assembled complex and three AcrA molecules complete the structure. This is in contrast to data for the MexAB-OprM system of P. aeruginosa that, depending on pH, has between two and six MexA molecules…

Volume 12, Issue 5, 01 October 2009, Pp 512-519
Jessica MA A Blair | Laura Jv V Piddock

How Xanthomonas type III effectors manipulate the host plant

Pathogenicity of Xanthomonas and most other Gram-negative phytopathogenic bacteria depends on a conserved type III secretion (T3S) system which injects more than 25 different effector proteins into the plant cell. Extensive studies in the last years on the molecular mechanisms of type III effector function revealed that effector proteins with enzymatic functions seem to play important roles in the interaction of Xanthomonas with its host plants, for example, the SUMO protease XopD. In addition,…

Volume 12, Issue 1, 01 February 2009, Pp 37-43
Sabine Kay | Ulla Bonas

Activation of plant pattern-recognition receptors by bacteria

The first active layer of plant innate immunity relies on the recognition by surface receptors of molecules indicative of non-self or modified-self. The activation of pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs) by pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) is in essence sufficient to stop pathogen invasion through transcriptional reprogramming and production of anti-microbials. The few PRR/PAMP pairs that are characterised provide useful models to study the specificity of ligand-binding and likely…

Volume 14, Issue 1, 01 February 2011, Pp 54-61
Cécile Segonzac | Cyril Zipfel