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: 6.990
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
  • Environmental microbiology
  • Host-microbe interactions: fungi/parasites/viruses
  • Antimicrobials
  • Microbial systems biology
  • 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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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

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 Wagner

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

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

Phylogeny and evolution of the Archaea: One hundred genomes later

Little more than 30 years since the discovery of the Archaea, over one hundred archaeal genome sequences are now publicly available, of which ~40% have been released in the last two years. Their analysis provides an increasingly complex picture of archaeal phylogeny and evolution with the proposal of new major phyla, such as the Thaumarchaeota, and important information on the evolution of key central cellular features such as cell division. Insights have been gained into the events and…

Volume 14, Issue 3, 01 June 2011, Pp 274-281
Celine Brochier-Armanet | Patrick Forterre | Simonetta Gribaldo

Mechanisms controlling pathogen colonization of the gut

The intestinal microbiota can protect efficiently against colonization by many enteric pathogens ('colonization resistance', CR). This phenomenon has been known for decades, but the mechanistic basis of CR is incompletely defined. At least three mechanisms seem to contribute, that is direct inhibition of pathogen growth by microbiota-derived substances, nutrient depletion by microbiota growth and microbiota-induced stimulation of innate and adaptive immune responses. In spite of CR, intestinal…

Volume 14, Issue 1, 01 February 2011, Pp 82-91
Bärbel Stecher | Wolf Dietrich Hardt

Microbial diversity of cellulose hydrolysis

Enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose by microorganisms is a key step in the global carbon cycle. Despite its abundance only a small percentage of microorganisms can degrade cellulose, probably because it is present in recalcitrant cell walls. There are at least five distinct mechanisms used by different microorganisms to degrade cellulose all of which involve cellulases. Cellulolytic organisms and cellulases are extremely diverse possibly because their natural substrates, plant cell walls, are…

Volume 14, Issue 3, 01 June 2011, Pp 259-263
David B. Wilson

You've come a long way: C-di-GMP signaling

Cyclic dimeric guanosine monophosphate (c-di-GMP) is a common, bacterial second messenger that regulates diverse cellular processes in bacteria. Opposing activities of diguanylate cyclases (DGCs) and phosphodiesterases (PDEs) control c-di-GMP homeostasis in the cell. Many microbes have a large number of genes encoding DGCs and PDEs that are predicted to be part of c-di-GMP signaling networks. Other building blocks of these networks are c-di-GMP receptors which sense the cellular levels of the…

Volume 15, Issue 2, 01 April 2012, Pp 140-146
Holger Sondermann | Nicholas J. Shikuma | Fitnat H. Yildiz

Plant targets for Pseudomonas syringae type III effectors: Virulence targets or guarded decoys?

The phytopathogenic bacterium Pseudomonas syringae can suppress both pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP)-triggered immunity (PTI) and effector-triggered immunity (ETI) by the injection of type III effector (T3E) proteins into host cells. T3Es achieve immune suppression using a variety of strategies including interference with immune receptor signaling, blocking RNA pathways and vesicle trafficking, and altering organelle function. T3Es can be recognized indirectly by resistance…

Volume 14, Issue 1, 01 February 2011, Pp 39-46
Anna Block | James R. Alfano

The role of Dectin-1 in the host defence against fungal infections

Dectin-1 is an innate immune pattern recognition receptor (PRR) that, through its ability to bind β-glucans, is involved in the recognition of several pathogenic fungi. Dectin-1 can stimulate a variety of cellular responses via the Syk/CARD9 signalling pathway, including phagocytosis, cytokine production and the respiratory burst. Several advances in our understanding of Dectin-1 immunobiology have been made in recent years, including characterisation of additional signalling pathways and…

Volume 14, Issue 4, 01 August 2011, Pp 392-399
Rebecca A. Drummond | Gordon D. Brown

Global epidemiology of community-associated methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA)

During the 1990s, various reports of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) infections appeared in the literature, caused by novel strains genetically distinct from traditional healthcare-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA). Numerous lineages of CA-MRSA have since emerged on every continent, several of which have spread internationally, most notably USA300. CA-MRSA strains are increasingly implicated in nosocomial infections, and may eventually displace HA-MRSA strains…

Volume 15, Issue 5, 01 October 2012, Pp 588-595
José R. Mediavilla | Liang Chen | Barun Mathema | Barry N. Kreiswirth

The next generation of bacteriophage therapy

Bacteriophage therapy for bacterial infections is a concept with an extensive but controversial history. There has been a recent resurgence of interest into bacteriophages owing to the increasing incidence of antibiotic resistance and virulent bacterial pathogens. Despite these efforts, bacteriophage therapy remains an underutilized option in Western medicine due to challenges such as regulation, limited host range, bacterial resistance to phages, manufacturing, side effects of bacterial lysis,…

Volume 14, Issue 5, 01 October 2011, Pp 524-531
Timothy K. Lu | Michael S. Koeris

Alternatives to antibiotics for the control of bacterial disease in aquaculture

The wide and frequent use of antibiotics in aquaculture has resulted in the development and spread of antibiotic resistance. Because of the health risks associated with the use of antibiotics in animal production, there is a growing awareness that antibiotics should be used with more care. This is reflected in the recent implementation of more strict regulations on the prophylactic use of antibiotics and the presence of antibiotic residues in aquaculture products. For a sustainable further…

Volume 14, Issue 3, 01 June 2011, Pp 251-258
Tom Defoirdt | Patrick Sorgeloos | Peter Bossier

TAL effectors are remote controls for gene activation

TAL (transcription activator- like) effectors constitute a novel class of DNA-binding proteins with predictable specificity. They are employed by Gram-negative plant-pathogenic bacteria of the genus Xanthomonas which translocate a cocktail of different effector proteins via a type III secretion system (T3SS) into plant cells where they serve as virulence determinants. Inside the plant cell, TALs localize to the nucleus, bind to target promoters, and induce expression of plant genes. DNA-binding…

Volume 14, Issue 1, 01 February 2011, Pp 47-53
Heidi Scholze | Jens Boch

Modulation of immune homeostasis by commensal bacteria

Intestinal bacteria form a resident community that has co-evolved with the mammalian host. In addition to playing important roles in digestion and harvesting energy, commensal bacteria are crucial for the proper functioning of mucosal immune defenses. Most of these functions have been attributed to the presence of large numbers of 'innocuous' resident bacteria that dilute or occupy niches for intestinal pathogens or induce innate immune responses that sequester bacteria in the lumen, thus…

Volume 14, Issue 1, 01 February 2011, Pp 106-114
Ivaylo I. Ivanov | Dan R. Littman

Recurrent infections and immune evasion strategies of Staphylococcus aureus

Staphylococcus aureus causes purulent skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) that frequently reoccur. Staphylococal SSTIs can lead to invasive disease and sepsis, which are among the most significant causes of infectious disease mortality in both developed and developing countries. Human or animal infections with S. aureus do not elicit protective immunity against staphylococcal diseases. Here we review what is known about the immune evasive strategies of S. aureus that enable the pathogen's…

Volume 15, Issue 1, 01 February 2012, Pp 92-99
Hwan Keun Kim | Vilasack Thammavongsa | Olaf Schneewind | Dominique Missiakas

Nucleoproteins and nucleocapsids of negative-strand RNA viruses

A hallmark of negative-strand RNA viruses (NSVs) is that their genomes never exist as free RNA, but instead are always assembled with many copies of a single nucleoprotein (N) to form highly stable nucleocapsids. Moreover, viral genomes are the only RNAs in infected cells that are assembled with N. The mechanism by which this specific association occurs, for both the segmented (s) and non-segmented (ns) viruses, has recently become clearer due to our expanding knowledge of N protein and…

Volume 14, Issue 4, 01 August 2011, Pp 504-510
Rob W H Ruigrok | Thibaut Crépin | Dan Kolakofsky

Single cell genomics: An individual look at microbes

Single cell genomics (SCG) uncovers hereditary information at the most basic level of biological organization. It is emerging as a powerful complement to cultivation-based and microbial community-focused research approaches. SCG has been instrumental in identifying metabolic features, evolutionary histories and inter-organismal interactions of the uncultured microbial groups that dominate many environments and biogeochemical cycles. The SCG approach also holds great promise in microbial…

Volume 15, Issue 5, 01 October 2012, Pp 613-620
Ramunas Stepanauskas

Role of mucus layers in gut infection and inflammation

The intestinal mucus is an efficient system for protecting the epithelium from bacteria by promoting their clearance and separating them from the epithelial cells, thereby inhibiting inflammation and infection. The function of the colon inner mucus layer is especially important as this explains how we can harbor the large number of bacteria in our gut. The major component of this mucus system is the MUC2 mucin which organizes the mucus by its enormously large net-like polymers. Pathogenic…

Volume 15, Issue 1, 01 February 2012, Pp 57-62
Gunnar C. Hansson

Histidine kinases and response regulators in networks

Two-component systems, composed of a histidine kinase (HK) and a response regulator (RR), are the major signal transduction devices in bacteria. Originally it was thought that these two components function as linear, phosphorylation-driven stimulus-response system. Here, we will review how accessory proteins are employed by HKs and RRs to mediate signal integration, scaffolding, interconnection and allosteric regulation, and how these two components are embedded in regulatory networks. © 2011…

Volume 15, Issue 2, 01 April 2012, Pp 118-124
Kirsten Jung | Luitpold Fried | Stefan Behr | Ralf Heermann

Importance of the Candida albicans cell wall during commensalism and infection

An imbalance of the normal microbial flora, breakage of epithelial barriers or dysfunction of the immune system favour the transition of the human pathogenic yeast Candida albicans from a commensal to a pathogen. C. albicans has evolved to be adapted as a commensal on mucosal surfaces. As a commensal it has also acquired attributes, which are necessary to avoid or overcome the host defence mechanisms. The human host has also co-evolved to recognize and eliminate potential fungal invaders. Many…

Volume 15, Issue 4, 01 August 2012, Pp 406-412
Neil A R Gow | Bernhard Hube

Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and human intestinal health

Faecalibacterium prausnitzii is the most abundant bacterium in the human intestinal microbiota of healthy adults, representing more than 5% of the total bacterial population. Over the past five years, an increasing number of studies have clearly described the importance of this highly metabolically active commensal bacterium as a component of the healthy human microbiota. Changes in the abundance of F. prausnitzii have been linked to dysbiosis in several human disorders. Administration of F.…

Volume 16, Issue 3, 01 June 2013, Pp 255-261
S. Miquel | R. Martín | O. Rossi | L. G. Bermúdez-Humarán | J. M. Chatel | H. Sokol | M. Thomas | J. M. Wells | P. Langella

Regulation of Listeria virulence: PrfA master and commander

Listeria monocytogenes is the causative agent of listeriosis, a severe foodborne infection. These bacteria live as soil saprotrophs on decaying plant matter but also as intracellular parasites, using the cell cytosol as a replication niche. PrfA, a regulatory protein, integrates a number of environmental cues that signal the transition between these two contrasting lifestyles, activating a set of key virulence factors during host infection. While a number of details concerning the general mode…

Volume 14, Issue 2, 01 April 2011, Pp 118-127
Aitor de las Heras | Robert J. Cain | Magdalena K. Bielecka | José A. Vázquez-Boland

Colonic bacterial metabolites and human health

The influence of the microbial-mammalian metabolic axis is becoming increasingly important for human health. Bacterial fermentation of carbohydrates (CHOs) and proteins produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) and a range of other metabolites including those from aromatic amino acid (AAA) fermentation. SCFA influence host health as energy sources and via multiple signalling mechanisms. Bacterial transformation of fibre-related phytochemicals is associated with a reduced incidence of several…

Volume 16, Issue 3, 01 June 2013, Pp 246-254
Wendy R. Russell | Lesley Hoyles | Harry J. Flint | Marc Emmanuel Dumas

Gulping rather than sipping: Macropinocytosis as a way of virus entry

Macropinocytosis has emerged as a major endocytic mechanism in the cell entry of animal viruses. The process differs fundamentally from other endocytic mechanisms involved in virus internalization. By activating growth factor receptors or other signaling molecules, plasma membrane-bound viruses trigger the activation of a signaling pathway. When amplified, this causes a transient, global change in cell behavior. The consequences of this change include the actin-dependent formation of membrane…

Volume 15, Issue 4, 01 August 2012, Pp 490-499
Jason Mercer | Ari Helenius