Chemical biology


Chemical biology is the study of the chemicals and chemical reactions involved in biological processes, incorporating the disciplines of bioorganic chemistry, biochemistry, cell biology and pharmacology. Chemicals – including natural small molecules, such as lipids, carbohydrates and metals, or non-natural probe or drug molecules – are used to gain insight into biological problems at a mechanistic level.


Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    A pathway for the production of aromatic amino acid metabolites in Clostridium sporogenes is described; modulation of serum levels of these metabolites in gnotobiotic mice affects intestinal permeability and systemic immunity.

    • Dylan Dodd
    • , Matthew H. Spitzer
    • , William Van Treuren
    • , Bryan D. Merrill
    • , Andrew J. Hryckowian
    • , Steven K. Higginbottom
    • , Anthony Le
    • , Tina M. Cowan
    • , Garry P. Nolan
    • , Michael A. Fischbach
    •  & Justin L. Sonnenburg
  • Research |

    Cancers growing in high-oxygen environments, such as lung adenocarcinomas, select for the iron–sulfur cluster synthesizing enzyme NFS1 to support malignant proliferation and to protect from oxidative damage.

    • Samantha W. Alvarez
    • , Vladislav O. Sviderskiy
    • , Erdem M. Terzi
    • , Thales Papagiannakopoulos
    • , Andre L. Moreira
    • , Sylvia Adams
    • , David M. Sabatini
    • , Kıvanç Birsoy
    •  & Richard Possemato
  • Reviews |

    Sphingolipids are a major class of lipids, comprising various species with diverse functions. In addition to being structural elements of membranes, many sphingolipids are bioactive and regulate a myriad of cellular processes. Recent advances have shed new light on the complexity of sphingolipid metabolism and their various roles in physiology and disease.

    • Yusuf A. Hannun
    •  & Lina M. Obeid
  • Research | | open

    Target of rapamycin (TOR) kinase operates within two distinct multiprotein complexes named TORC1 and TORC2. Here the authors report a cryo-EM structure of TORC2, establish its subunit organization, providing a rationale for TORC2’s rapamycin insensitivity and the mutually exclusive inclusion of Avo3/Rictor or Raptor within their respective TOR complex.

    • Manikandan Karuppasamy
    • , Beata Kusmider
    • , Taiana M. Oliveira
    • , Christl Gaubitz
    • , Manoel Prouteau
    • , Robbie Loewith
    •  & Christiane Schaffitzel
  • Research | | open

    Primase is the specialised DNA-dependent RNA polymerase responsible for the initiation of DNA synthesis during DNA replication. Here the authors use a structural biology approach to identify the initiation site in the S. solfataricus PriSLX primase and to demonstrate that its Fe-S cluster is dispensable for primer synthesis.

    • Sandro Holzer
    • , Jiangyu Yan
    • , Mairi L. Kilkenny
    • , Stephen D. Bell
    •  & Luca Pellegrini

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