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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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

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

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

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

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 O. 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

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

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 Y. Galperin

Viral tricks to grid-lock the type I interferon system

Type I interferons (IFNs) play a crucial role in the innate immune avant-garde against viral infections. Virtually all viruses have developed means to counteract the induction, signaling, or antiviral actions of the IFN circuit. Over 170 different virus-encoded IFN antagonists from 93 distinct viruses have been described up to now, indicating that most viruses interfere with multiple stages of the IFN response. Although every viral IFN antagonist is unique in its own right, four main mechanisms…

Volume 13, Issue 4, 01 August 2010, Pp 508-516
Gijs A. Versteeg | Adolfo García-Sastre

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
Yi Ju Hsieh | Barry L. Wanner

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

Advances in understanding E. coli cell fission

Much of what we know about cytokinesis in bacteria has come from studies with Escherichia coli, and efforts to comprehensively understand this fundamental process in this organism continue to intensify. Major recent advances include in vitro assembly of a membrane-tethered version of FtsZ into contractile rings in lipid tubules, in vitro dynamic patterning of the Min proteins and a deeper understanding of how they direct assembly of the FtsZ-ring to midcell, the elucidation of structures,…

Volume 13, Issue 6, 01 December 2010, Pp 730-737
Piet A J de Boer

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

Wolbachia: more than just a bug in insects genitals

Research on the intracellular bacterial symbiont Wolbachia has grown on many levels, providing interesting insights on various aspects of the microbe's biology. Although data from fully sequenced genomes of different Wolbachia strains and from experimental studies of host-microbe interactions continue to arise, most of the molecular mechanisms employed by Wolbachia to manipulate the host cytoplasmic machinery and to ensure vertical transmission are yet to be discovered. Apart from the…

Volume 13, Issue 1, 01 February 2010, Pp 67-72
Aggeliki Saridaki | Kostas Bourtzis

Effects of nucleoid-associated proteins on bacterial chromosome structure and gene expression

Bacterial nucleoid-associated proteins play a key role in the organisation, replication, segregation, repair and expression of bacterial chromosomes. Here, we review some recent progress in our understanding of the effects of these proteins on DNA and their biological role, focussing mainly on Escherichia coli and its chromosome. Certain nucleoid-associated proteins also regulate transcription initiation at specific promoters, and work in concert with dedicated transcription factors to regulate…

Volume 13, Issue 6, 01 December 2010, Pp 773-780
Douglas F. Browning | David C. Grainger | Stephen J W Busby

Toxin-antitoxin systems: Why so many, what for?

Toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems are small genetic modules that are abundant in bacterial genomes. Three types have been described so far, depending on the nature and mode of action of the antitoxin component. While type II systems are surprisingly highly represented because of their capacity to move by horizontal gene transfer, type I systems appear to have evolved by gene duplication and are more constrained. Type III is represented by a unique example located on a plasmid. Type II systems…

Volume 13, Issue 6, 01 December 2010, Pp 781-785
Laurence Van Melderen

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

Two-component signal transduction as potential drug targets in pathogenic bacteria

Gene clusters contributing to processes such as cell growth and pathogenicity are often controlled by two-component signal transduction systems (TCSs). Specific inhibitors against TCS systems work differently from conventional antibiotics, and developing them into new drugs that are effective against various drug-resistant bacteria may be possible. Furthermore, inhibitors of TCSs that control virulence factors may reduce virulence without killing the pathogenic bacteria. Previous TCS inhibitors…

Volume 13, Issue 2, 01 April 2010, Pp 232-239
Yasuhiro Gotoh | Yoko Eguchi | Takafumi Watanabe | Sho Okamoto | Akihiro Doi | Ryutaro Utsumi

Studying bacterial transcriptomes using RNA-seq

Genome-wide studies of bacterial gene expression are shifting from microarray technology to second generation sequencing platforms. RNA-seq has a number of advantages over hybridization-based techniques, such as annotation-independent detection of transcription, improved sensitivity and increased dynamic range. Early studies have uncovered a wealth of novel coding sequences and non-coding RNA, and are revealing a transcriptional landscape that increasingly mirrors that of eukaryotes. Already…

Volume 13, Issue 5, 01 October 2010, Pp 619-624
Nicholas J. Croucher | Nicholas R. Thomson

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

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

Polymeric particles in vaccine delivery

The tremendous power of the particulate vaccine delivery system has only recently been recognized and employed strategically in vaccine design. The entrapment of antigen in particles clearly alters its acquisition and processing by antigen presenting cells and ensuing adaptive immunity. The adjuvant activity of particles has recently been described at the molecular level as engaging the Nalp3 inflammasome and complementing the activity of toll-like receptor ligands. The inclusion of antigen…

Volume 13, Issue 1, 01 February 2010, Pp 106-112
Allison C. Rice-Ficht | Angela M. Arenas-Gamboa | Melissa M. Kahl-McDonagh | Thomas A. Ficht

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