Chemical genetics

Chemical genetics is the use of small molecule compounds to perturb a biological system to explore the outcome. Chemical genetics is also used to describe the technique of screening for small molecule modulators. As in classical genetics, the perturbation of a system using small molecules reveals information about the targeted system.

Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • News & Views |

    Protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) are overexpressed in many cancer types, including triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). A new study shows that a reversible inhibitor of type I PRMTs suppresses TNBC tumor growth by inducing a viral mimicry response with retained introns.

    • Nivine Srour
    •  & Stéphane Richard
  • News & Views |

    Precision oncology requires an understanding of the genes and pathways that dictate therapeutic response. Through specialized analysis of drug sensitivity patterns across hundreds of genomically annotated cancer cell lines, specific and actionable drivers of intrinsic resistance have been identified.

    • Kris C. Wood
  • News & Views |

    Pharmacological agents exert their therapeutic effects by altering the biochemical activities of drug targets and, consequently, manipulating cell and organism physiology. A new study combines CRISPR interference with metabolomic profiling to rapidly elucidate drug mechanisms of action.

    • Jason H. Yang
  • News & Views |

    Two recent studies identified CDK12 inhibitors that bind to CDK12–cyclin K complexes and act as molecular glues to stabilize an interaction with the ubiquitin ligase CUL4–DDB1, leading to cyclin K degradation.

    • Willem den Besten
    •  & J. Russell Lipford
    Nature Chemical Biology 16, 1157-1158
  • News & Views |

    The mechanisms by which bioactive drugs get into their target cells is a question that has been greatly neglected. A new survey with CRISPR–Cas9 shows the widespread importance of protein transporters called solute carriers (SLCs).

    • Douglas B. Kell
  • Comments & Opinion |

    Plant biologists have recognized the potential in using small molecules identified from chemical libraries to provide insights into biological questions relevant to plants. However, the classical genetics mindset still predominant among plant scientists should evolve to embrace cross-disciplinary chemical genetics projects that will benefit future plant research.

    • Vivek Halder
    •  & Eugenia Russinova
    Nature Chemical Biology 15, 1025-1028