Chemical tools

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.

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Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    The limited availability of small-molecule ligands for E3 ubiquitin ligases stymies the development of next-generation degraders. Two recent papers report the identification of novel, covalent and PROTAC-compatible ligands that hijack the previously untargeted ligases RNF114 and DCAF16.

    • Matthias Brand
    •  & Georg E. Winter
  • News |

    Bioluminescence lights her way to measure glucose uptake in vivo, and why a chemist travels outside her comfort zone.

    • Vivien Marx
    Nature Methods 16, 449
  • News and Views |

    The NLRP3 inflammasome contributes to pathogenic inflammation in a broad range of diseases, making it a highly relevant drug target. Two studies published in this issue found an inhibitor of NLRP3 inflammasome activation to directly bind NLRP3 within its central NACHT domain, interfering with ATP hydrolysis and structural changes critical for NLRP3 oligomerization and subsequent inflammasome formation.

    • Oliver Gorka
    • , Emilia Neuwirt
    •  & Olaf Groß
  • News and Views |

    Chemical probes that irreversibly inhibit protein function may be used across species to discover proteins. Combining phenotypic screening and activity-based protein profiling, a new study uncovers a discrete lipid signaling pathway regulating lifespan in the worm Caenorhabditis elegans.

    • Jürg Gertsch
  • News and Views |

    Powerful combinatorial peptide library methods allow the discovery of peptide leads from diverse libraries. A new platform based on tandem mass spectrometry peptide sequencing coupled with high-performance size-exclusion chromatography enables identification of high-affinity peptidic ligands from focused libraries.

    • Kit S. Lam