Chemical tools

Definition

Chemical tools are small molecules used as probes of a chemical or biological process. Studying the effects of chemical tools on a system can lead to new insight into the molecular target of the small molecule and the pathways it acts in. Chemical probes with defined targets can be attractive as drugs in clinical pharmacology.

Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • Comments and Opinion |

    Selection of molecular targets based on disease understanding is a dominant paradigm in drug discovery. We argue that a focus on classes of targets with central roles in biology provides a complimentary approach that has higher quality outcomes in early discovery efforts.

    • Kimberly D Barnash
    • , Lindsey I James
    •  & Stephen V Frye
    Nature Chemical Biology 13, 1053–1056
  • News and Views |

    Kinetochores form the critical interface with spindle microtubules that accounts for chromosome movement and segregation fidelity during mitosis. Spatial and temporal control of motor protein and checkpoint signaling at kinetochores is now possible with a new set of optogenetic tools.

    • Ana C Figueiredo
    •  & Helder Maiato
    Nature Chemical Biology 13, 1058–1059
  • News and Views |

    Lipid II embodies the bricks used to build the essential bacterial cell wall component peptidoglycan. A facile new procedure for preparation of species-specific Lipid II in high yields can now be used to unlock the door to antibiotic discovery.

    • Anthony J Clarke
  • Comments and Opinion |

    Cell-to-cell signaling networks, although poorly understood, guide tissue development, regulate tissue function and may become dysregulated in disease. Chemical biologists can develop the next generation of tools to untangle these complex and dynamic networks of interacting cells.

    • Zev J Gartner
    • , Jennifer A Prescher
    •  & Luke D Lavis