Biological Chemistry Archives - ACS Axial | ACS Publications
Search
Close

Dr. Bryan Dickinson wins the 2022 ACS Chemical Biology Young Investigator Award

The ACS Chemical Biology Young Investigator Award honors the contributions of an early-career individual who is doing outstanding work in chemical biology. The first winner of this annual award, Dr. Bryan Dickinson from The University of Chicago, will present the ACS Chemical Biology Young Investigator Lecture during the ACS Spring 2023 Meeting & Exposition March 26 – 30 in Indianapolis, IN.

The award is sponsored jointly by ACS Chemical Biology and the ACS Division of Biological Chemistry.

“The review committee was delighted to receive a large number of highly-competitive nominations for the inaugural ACS Chemical Biology Young Investigator award,” said Editor-in-Chief Chuan He. “Following detailed deliberations, we are excited to name Dr. Bryan Dickinson as the winner of the 2022 ACS Chemical Biology Young Investigator Award, for his unique and outstanding contributions to designing and applying both small-molecule-driven and bioengineering-based strategies that enable novel means to perturb, probe, or control, numerous important biological regulatory programs spanning from the lipid signaling to epitranscriptome and RNA targeting. Work from the Dickinson laboratory over the past 8 years pushes the boundaries of chemical biology. This laboratory further demonstrates that when studied with depth and breath, how chemical biologists can bring novel interdisciplinary solutions to address important problems in the life sciences.”

Read a Brief Interview With Dr. Bryan Dickinson

Dr. Bryan Dickinson

Dr. Bryan Dickinson

Can you give us a short overview of the research you are currently undertaking and/or the project you are most excited about?

The motivating principle of my group is that our ability as chemists to create functional molecules will lead to new breakthroughs in biology and biotechnology. We are molecule-type agnostic though, engaging in everything from synthetic organic chemistry to create small molecules, molecular evolution to reprogram molecules, and protein/RNA design to develop novel biotechnology platforms. We select problems that we think are important, both in basic biology and translational science, and then do what only chemists can do—think about molecular solutions to those problems, and then go in the lab and create, find, or engineer those molecules!

One subgroup I am very excited about right now is our subgroup developing technologies to harness evolution to engineer and optimize molecules with specific bioactivities. Evolution, nature’s design philosophy, is not only a powerful method for optimizing or redirecting existing molecular function but can also lead to the de novo discovery of novel mechanisms of activity of molecules. I believe this function-first approach to molecular design could be impactful in the ways we discover bioactive molecules, but critically, can also lead to new mechanisms of action.

Over the past seven years, though iterative platform technology development, in particular our group’s proximity-dependent split RNAP biosensing system, we have developed technologies that allow us to rapidly evolve selective molecular interfaces between proteins, to evolve “molecular glues” that drive biomolecular interactions, to evolve biocatalysts, and finally, to evolve selective inhibitors of target biomolecular interactions.

Now, we are using these systems to try to tackle complex biophysical “puzzles” with a disease-focus, such as how to selectively disrupt disease-driving pre-formed protein complexes or how to drive biomolecular interactions with molecular glues to rewire cell signaling. We believe that the throughout and library sizes enabled by our evolution-based systems will yield novel solutions to these puzzles and lay the foundation for new classes of therapeutics.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone just entering the field?

I suggest anyone entering the field of chemical biology really try to identify and follow their passions. There are so many problems facing society today—from seemingly intractable diseases to looming climate and energy disasters. Chemistry can provide some of the solutions to these challenges, and chemical biologists, with their exceptional abilities to build interdisciplinary teams, can help lead those efforts.

I always sought highly interdisciplinary training environments with a “problem-focused,” rather than “technique or model-focused,” approach to science. I would advise burgeoning chemical biologists to find groups to work with that align with your values and passions, who think creatively and interdisciplinarily, and who value team-based science with a mission-driven attitude. At least for me, this has been a fulfilling and energizing way for me to navigate my own career choices and led me to work with two of the best advisors I could possibly imagine for my Ph.D. and postdoc.

Relatedly, one of the things I am most proud of is a PI is my group culture. Our team tackles problems we think are important with bravery, creativity, and a sense of purpose. In short—find science to pursue that you really care about and the people to pursue it with that share your values and passions, and everything will flow beautifully from there!

What new directions in chemical biology do think will be most impactful in the next few years?

I am really interested in the ever-changing role of academic science in the broader biotech and drug discovery ecosystem. Academic science—both discovery and technology development—plays a critically important role in that ecosystem, and increasingly, serves as springboard for young entrepreneurs to build and test innovative ideas and then move them outside of academia to the “real world.”

There are so many exciting therapeutic modalities that emerged from academia that are poised to make major inroads in medicine in the next decade, from CRISPR technologies, to PROTACs and related bifunctional recruiter systems, to RNA-targeting technologies. While chemical biologists have and will continue to serve a critical role as “tool developers” to break down barriers in the study of biology, I think major impacts will be made in changing the paradigms of what a drug can look like and what can be targeted therapeutically.

Related to that goal, I think innovative training environments that help both support and foster diverse trainees to become successful in their futures, which within chemical biology, are increasingly translational and therefore outside of academia, will ensure chemical biology as a field continues to generate leaders in both academia and industry.

In short, there are so many patients in need with seemingly intractable medical problems, but also, so many exciting and innovative ideas out there, I think the next decade will really lead to a golden age of biotechnology, fueled in large part by chemical biology.

Explore Recent ACS Journal Articles by Dr. Bryan Dickinson

  1. Charting the Chemical Space of Acrylamide-Based Inhibitors of zDHHC20. ACS Med. Chem. Lett. 2022, 13, 10, 1648–1654
  2. A High-Throughput Fluorescent Turn-On Assay for Inhibitors of DHHC Family Proteins. ACS Chem. Biol. 2022, 17, 8, 2018–2023
  3. Development of Mild Chemical Catalysis Conditions for m1A-to-m6A Rearrangement on RNA. ACS Chem. Biol. 2022, 17, 6, 1334–1342
  4. Phage-Assisted Continuous Evolution and Selection of Enzymes for Chemical Synthesis. ACS Cent. Sci. 2021, 7, 9, 1581–1590
  5. A System for the Evolution of Protein–Protein Interaction Inducers. ACS Synth. Biol. 2021, 10, 8, 2096–2110
  6. Development of an Acrylamide-Based Inhibitor of Protein S-Acylation. ACS Chem. Biol. 2021, 16, 8, 1546–1556
  7. Small Molecule-Inducible RNA-Targeting Systems for Temporal Control of RNA Regulation. ACS Cent. Sci. 2020, 6, 11, 1987–1996
  8. A Phage-Assisted Continuous Selection Approach for Deep Mutational Scanning of Protein–Protein Interactions. ACS Chem. Biol. 2019, 14, 12, 2757–2767
  9. Activity-Based Sensing of S-Depalmitoylases: Chemical Technologies and Biological Discovery. Acc. Chem. Res. 2019, 52, 11, 3029–3038
  10. Development of a Split Esterase for Protein–Protein Interaction-Dependent Small-Molecule Activation. ACS Cent. Sci. 2019, 5, 11, 1768–1776

Call for Papers: AI for Synthetic Biology

Synthetic biology has been successfully used to design biological systems with new and improved functions. However, due to the complexity of biological systems, performing synthetic biology in a quantitative and predictive manner still remains a challenge. In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) that allow computers to learn from experience has emerged as a potentially powerful tool to address this challenge.

A new Virtual Special Issue from ACS Synthetic Biology will focus on this dynamic topic, including contributions that develop and apply AI and ML tools for synthetic biology applications. The issue will be led by Editor-in-Chief Huimin Zhao with Guest Editors Hector Garcia-Martin and Stanislav Mazurenko.

Relevant topics include:

  • AI/ML algorithms relevant to synthetic biology
  • AI/ML-guided peptide, protein, and antibody engineering
  • AI/ML-guided metabolic engineering
  • AI/ML for plant, microbial, and mammalian synthetic biology
  • AI/ML for bioprocess development
  • AI/ML for systems biology

Author Instructions:

To submit your manuscript, please visit the ACS Synthetic Biology website. Please follow the normal procedures for manuscript submission, and when in the ACS Paragon Plus submission site, select the special issue of “AI for Synthetic Biology.” All manuscripts will undergo the normal peer review process. For additional submission instructions, please see the ACS Synthetic Biology Author Guidelines.

The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2023.

Learn More About How to Submit

The 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry Goes to Carolyn R. Bertozzi, Morten Meldal, and K. Barry Sharpless

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2022 was awarded to Carolyn R. Bertozzi, Morten Meldal, and K. Barry Sharpless “for the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry,” which involve simple, quick chemical reactions that can occur within living organisms without disrupting normal biological functions.

“We are absolutely delighted with these awards, which recognize the enormous impact of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry,” says ACS President Angela K. Wilson. “This type of chemistry links together chemical building blocks in a predictable way, almost like Lego®. Putting these building blocks together opens up a range of possibilities from drug development to materials to diagnostics.”

Bertozzi has a long-standing history with ACS. She has been a member for 32 years and is an ACS Fellow. She is also the founding and current Editor-in-Chief of ACS Central Science, the first fully open-access journal from ACS Publications. She has won numerous awards; notably, the Roger Adams Award in Organic Chemistry for 2023; the Arthur C. Cope Award in 2017; the ACS Award in Pure Chemistry in 2001; and an Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award in 1999. She has published more than 150 articles ACS journals and provided thought-provoking commentary in many editorials, a collection of which we have shared below.

Meldal has been a member of ACS for 14 years. In 2009, he received the Ralph F. Hirschmann Award in Peptide Chemistry. Meldal has published over 40 articles in ACS journals.

Sharpless is no stranger to the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He received the award in 2001 for his work on chirally catalyzed oxidation reactions. An ACS Fellow, Sharpless has been a member of the Society for 59 years and has published almost 150 articles in ACS journals. He also coined the term “click chemistry” at the 217th ACS National Meeting in 1999 in his abstract, “Click Chemistry: A Concept for Merging Process and Discovery Chemistry.” He has received many awards, including the Priestley Medal (sponsored by ACS) in 2019; the Roger Adams Award in Organic Chemistry in 1997; the Arthur C. Cope Award in 1992; an Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award in 1986; and the ACS Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry, in 1983.

All three winners have each published extensively in ACS Publications journals throughout the years. The following articles from each of the laureates, as well as a collection of additional papers associated with the winning research, will be made free-to-read for the remainder of 2022 in honor of their win.

Carolyn R. Bertozzi

A Strain-Promoted [3 + 2] Azide−alkyne Cycloaddition for Covalent Modification of Biomolecules in Living Systems
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2004, 126, 46, 15046–15047
DOI: 10.1021/ja044996f

Aminooxy-, Hydrazide-, and Thiosemicarbazide-Functionalized Saccharides: Versatile Reagents for Glycoconjugate Synthesis
J. Org. Chem. 1998, 63, 21, 7134–7135
DOI: 10.1021/jo981351n

A “Traceless” Staudinger Ligation for the Chemoselective Synthesis of Amide Bonds
Org. Lett. 2000, 2, 14, 2141–2143
DOI: 10.1021/ol006054v

A Fluorogenic Dye Activated by the Staudinger Ligation
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2003, 125, 16, 4708–4709
DOI: 10.1021/ja029013y

Chemoselective Approaches to Glycoprotein Assembly
Acc. Chem. Res. 2001, 34, 9, 727–736
DOI: 10.1021/ar9901570

Rapid Cu-Free Click Chemistry with Readily Synthesized Biarylazacyclooctynones
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2010, 132, 11, 3688–3690
DOI: 10.1021/ja100014q

Second-Generation Difluorinated Cyclooctynes for Copper-Free Click Chemistry
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2008, 130, 34, 11486–11493
DOI: 10.1021/ja803086r

A Comparative Study of Bioorthogonal Reactions with Azides
ACS Chem. Biol. 2006, 1, 10, 644–648
DOI: 10.1021/cb6003228

Morten Meldal

Peptidotriazoles on Solid Phase:  [1,2,3]-Triazoles by Regiospecific Copper(I)-Catalyzed 1,3-Dipolar Cycloadditions of Terminal Alkynes to Azides
J. Org. Chem. 2002, 67, 9, 3057–3064
DOI: 10.1021/jo011148j

K. Barry Sharpless

Copper(I)-Catalyzed Synthesis of Azoles. DFT Study Predicts Unprecedented Reactivity and Intermediates
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2005, 127, 1, 210–216
DOI: 10.1021/ja0471525 

Related ACS Publications Articles

Influence of strain on chemical reactivity. Relative reactivity of torsionally strained double bonds in 1,3-dipolar cycloadditions
Shea, K. J. and Kim, J. S. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1992, 114, 12, 4846–4855
DOI: 10.1021/ja00038a059

Heats of hydrogenation. IX. Cyclic acetylenes and some miscellaneous olefins
Turner, R. B. et al. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1973, 95, 3, 790–792.
DOI: 10.1021/ja00784a025

Staudinger Ligation: A Peptide from a Thioester and Azide
Nilsson, B. L. et al. Org. Lett. 2000, 2, 13, 1939–1941
DOI: 10.1021/ol0060174

A new amino protecting group removable by reduction. Chemistry of the dithiasuccinoyl (Dts) function
Barany, G. and Merrifield, R. B. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1977, 99, 22, 7363–7365
DOI: 10.1021/ja00464a050

Tetrazine Ligation: Fast Bioconjugation Based on Inverse-Electron-Demand Diels−Alder Reactivity
Blackman, M. et al. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2008, 130, 41, 13518–13519
DOI: 10.1021/ja8053805

Tetrazine-Based Cycloadditions: Application to Pretargeted Live Cell Imaging
Devaraj, N. K. et al. Bioconjugate Chem. 2008, 19, 12, 2297–2299
DOI: 10.1021/bc8004446

Learn More About the 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry winners in C&EN.

———————————

Further Reading

Articles: Carolyn R. Bertozzi

From Mechanism to Mouse: A Tale of Two Bioorthogonal Reactions
Acc. Chem. Res. 2011, 44, 9, 666–676
DOI: 10.1021/ar200148z

Cell Surface Engineering by a Modified Staudinger Reaction
https://www.science.org/doi/full/10.1126/science.287.5460.2007

Copper-free click chemistry for dynamic in vivo imaging
https://www.pnas.org/doi/abs/10.1073/pnas.0707090104

Engineering Chemical Reactivity on Cell Surfaces Through Oligosaccharide Biosynthesis
https://www.science.org/doi/full/10.1126/science.276.5315.1125

Copper-Free Click Chemistry in Living Animals
https://www.pnas.org/doi/abs/10.1073/pnas.0911116107

In Vivo Imaging of Membrane-Associated Glycans in Developing Zebrafish
https://www.science.org/doi/full/10.1126/science.1155106

Articles: Morten Meldal

Peptidotriazoles: Copper(I)-Catalyzed 1,3-Dipolar Cycloadditions on Solid-Phase
Peptides: The Wave of the Future. American Peptide Symposia, vol 7. Springer, Dordrecht.
DOI: 10.1007/978-94-010-0464-0_119

Computational Evolution of Threonine-Rich β-Hairpin Peptides Mimicking Specificity and Affinity of Antibodies
ACS Cent. Sci. 2019, 5, 2, 259–269
DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.8b00614

Cu-Catalyzed Azide−Alkyne Cycloaddition
Chem. Rev. 2008, 108, 8, 2952–3015
DOI: 10.1021/cr0783479

Articles: K. Barry Sharpless

Sulfur [18F]Fluoride Exchange Click Chemistry Enabled Ultrafast LateStage Radiosynthesis
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143, 10, 3753–3763
DOI: 10.1021/jacs.0c09306

Sulfur(VI) Fluoride Exchange (SuFEx)-Enabled High-Throughput Medicinal Chemistry
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020, 142, 25, 10899–10904
DOI: 10.1021/jacs.9b13652

SuFEx Click Chemistry Enabled Late-Stage Drug Functionalization
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140, 8, 2919–2925
DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b12788

In Situ Click Chemistry:  Enzyme Inhibitors Made to Their Own Specifications
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2004, 126, 40, 12809–12818
DOI: 10.1021/ja046382g

Editorials: Carolyn R. Bertozzi

The Centrality of Chemistry (Inaugural ACS Central Science editorial)
ACS Cent. Sci. 2015, 1, 1, 1–2
DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.5b00090

Achieving Gender Balance in the Chemistry Professoriate Is Not Rocket Science
ACS Cent. Sci. 2016, 2, 4, 181–182
DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.6b00102

Ingredients for a Positive Safety Culture
ACS Cent. Sci. 2016, 2, 11, 764–766
DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.6b00341

Postdoc Labor Love
ACS Cent. Sci. 2016, 2, 6, 359–360
DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.6b00167

A Decade of Bioorthogonal Chemistry
Acc. Chem. Res. 2011, 44, 9, 651–653
DOI: 10.1021/ar200193f

Related Special Issues

Bioorthogonal Chemistry in Biology Special Issue

The 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine Goes to Svante Pääbo

Svante Paabo, winner of the 2022 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine

Credit: Frank Vinken/Max Planck Society

Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology was awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for his discoveries concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution,” which have unlocked new understandings of genetic relationships between modern humans and our ancient relatives.

Pääbo’s groundbreaking research has led to many novel discoveries about our evolutionary history and what makes us “uniquely human.” Notably, he and his colleagues successfully sequenced the entire Neanderthal genome, and he later discovered an entirely new hominin species, Denisova, by sequencing DNA from a well-preserved finger bone found in a Siberian cave.

These findings led Pääbo to help establish Paleogenomics, a novel field of science based on reconstructing and analyzing ancient DNA from extinct specimens. Pääbo’s discoveries have provided promising insights into how the gene flow from our ancient ancestors to modern-day humans influences physiological functions such as sleep cycles, immune responses to certain infections, and survival in high-altitude settings.

Pääbo has previously published work in Journal of Proteome Research, where he and his team analyzed differences in protein expression between humans and primates.

Read more about Svante Pääbo and his research in Chemical & Engineering News

Helping People Breathe Easy

An ACS Pharmacology & Translational Science Virtual Issue explores the molecular mechanisms and management of chronic respiratory diseases. 

The lungs are constantly exposed to a mix of noxious agents present in the air, including particles, chemicals, and infectious organisms.1  Globally, respiratory diseases cause a significant burden and are a leading cause of premature mortality.2 Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, lower respiratory infections were the leading cause of communicable death—responsible for more than 2 million deaths in 2019 and rising sharply in 2020.2 Despite this, many chronic respiratory conditions are poorly understood, and lack effective disease-modifying therapies.

This Virtual Issue in ACS Pharmacology & Translational Science showcases publications in three categories: SARS-CoV-2 infections, cystic fibrosis, and chronic respiratory diseases—looking at the role of chemistry in pushing the boundaries of basic, translational, and clinical research.3

The Next Generation of COVID-19 Treatments

By now, we are all very familiar with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2)—the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 infection and that resulted in a global pandemic being declared in March 2020 by the World Health Organization. The speed at which COVID-19 vaccines were developed was remarkable, but scientists are now tackling the issue of vaccine-resistant variants. One study summarizes how next-generation COVID-19 vaccines can prevent the emergence of these variants by circumventing antigenic drift while defusing viral infections.4

Others are turning their attention to potential drug targets for COVID-19 infections, employing a hybrid in silico approach to build novel inhibitors of multiple variants using both machine learning and pharmacophore-based modeling.5

Several papers examine the dynamic structure–function and structure–free energy relationships of the virus’s main protease (Mpro), with a focus on characterizing the mechanism of action of six novel inhibitors directed against this structure.6,7 When used in combination with traditional antivirals, some of these agents show synergistic activity against SARS-CoV-2 replication.8 There is also a potential role for peptide-based antiviral therapy that blocks the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) prior to entry—the connecting point between the virus and the human surface receptor protein.9

New Approaches to Cystic Fibrosis Therapy

Cystic fibrosis is thought to affect at least 160,000 people worldwide, and many—particularly those in low-resource areas—are unable to access proper treatment.10 This Virtual Issue provides a review of preclinical and clinical emerging cystic fibrosis conductance regulators (CFTR modulators), examining their in vitro pharmacology and translation to the clinic.11 This is complemented by a summary of current knowledge about the use of CFTR modulators during pregnancy.12

Looking at Biomarkers for Chronic Respiratory Diseases

Addressing the burden of respiratory diseases requires improved diagnosis as well as treatment. One possibility is in identifying biomarkers for chronic respiratory diseases, such as interleukin (IL)-33 in COPD and asthma, or organoids and lung-on-a-chip in pulmonary fibrosis.13,14

With these recent advances in the field of respiratory diseases, the horizon looks optimistic for several approaches to translate into real-life patient applications.

Read the Special Issue

References

  1. Wisnivesky J, de-Torres JP. The Global Burden of Pulmonary Diseases: Most Prevalent Problems and Opportunities for Improvement. Annals of Global Health 2019;85(1):1.
  2. Leading causes of death globally. World Health Organization 2020.
  3. Virtual Issue: Chronic Conditions Affecting Lungs and Airways. ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci 2022.
  4. Fernández A. Toward the Next-Generation COVID-19 Vaccines That Circumvent Antigenic Drift while Defusing Viral Infection. ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci 2021;4:1018–1020.
  5. Jain S, et al. Hybrid In Silico Approach Reveals Novel Inhibitors of Multiple SARS-CoV-2 Variants. ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci 2021;4:1675–1688.
  6. Wan H, et al. Probing the Dynamic Structure-Function and Structure-Free Energy Relationships of the Coronavirus Main Protease with Biodynamics Theory. ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci 2020;3:1111–1143.
  7. Ma C, et al. Ebselen, Disulfiram, Carmofur, PX-12, Tideglusib, and Shikonin Are Nonspecific Promiscuous SARS-CoV-2 Main Protease Inhibitors. ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci 2020;3:1265–1277.
  8. Chen T, et al. Synergistic Inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 Replication Using Disulfiram/Ebselen and Remdesivir. ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci 2021;4:898–907.
  9. Maiti BK. Potential Role of Peptide-Based Antiviral Therapy Against SARS-CoV-2 Infection. ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci 2020;3:783–785.
  10. Guo J, et al. Worldwide rates of diagnosis and effective treatment for cystic fibrosis. J Cyst Fibros 2022;21(3):456–462.
  11. Ghelani DP, Schneider-Futschik EK. Emerging Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator Modulators as New Drugs for Cystic Fibrosis: A Portrait of in Vitro Pharmacology and Clinical Translation. ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci 2020;3:4–10.
  12. Qiu F, et al. Balance between the Safety of Mother, Fetus, and Newborn Undergoing Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator Treatments during Pregnancy. ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci 2020;3:835–843.
  13. Donovan C, Hansbro, PM. IL-33 in Chronic Respiratory Disease: From Preclinical to Clinical Studies. ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci 2020;3:56–62.
  14. Jeong MH, et al. Recent Advances in Molecular Diagnosis of Pulmonary Fibrosis for Precision Medicine. ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci 2022;5:520–538.

ACS Synthetic Biology Call for Papers for Synthetic Cells

Living organisms offer extensive diversity in terms of their phenotypes, metabolic processes, and adaptation to various niches. However, the basic building blocks that create this diversity are remarkably similar. How can we advance our understanding of the fascinating mechanisms that drive biological complexity and how can we harness biological components to build entirely new materials and devices?

A new Virtual Special Issue from ACS Synthetic Biology will focus on this dynamic topic, including contributions that deconstruct as well as build up and mimic biological systems. The resulting work serves both to test our scientific understanding and to extend known biology to develop new concepts and applications. The issue will be led by Associate Editor Michael Jewett with Guest Editors Kate Adamala, Marileen Dogterom, and Neha Kamat.

Relevant topics include:

  • Artificial cells / Protocells
  • Biomimetic systems and Compartments
  • Cell-free transcription-translation
  • Minimal & primordial cells
  • Synthetic cell engineering
  • Synthetic genomes
  • Design prototyping
  • Bioengineering tools that enable the field
  • New materials derived from minimal systems
  • Teaching and outreach tools

Author Instructions:

To submit your manuscript, please visit the ACS Synthetic Biology website. Please follow the normal procedures for manuscript submission, and when in the ACS Paragon Plus submission site, select the special issue of “Synthetic Cells.” All manuscripts will undergo the normal peer review process. For additional submission instructions, please see the ACS Synthetic Biology Author Guidelines.

The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2023. Submit your manuscript now.

Cancer-Sniffing Worms

The Spring 2022 National American Chemical Society (ACS) meeting held in San Diego, California, was a hybrid meeting that featured a wide range of science topics. The offerings showcased the vast diversity of the chemical sciences and the increasingly integrated nature of the projects. 

Most people would not be surprised that dogs can be trained to sniff out cancer, but few would consider that a microscopic nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, might be used as an early detection method for lung cancer. Researchers at the Myongji University in Korea have shown that C. elegans does seem to prefer the smell of lung cancer cells. When placed on a microfluidic chip the size of a microscope slide, with lung cancer cells on one side and healthy cells on the other, the microscopic worms move toward the cancerous cells. Shin Sik Choi’s group hypothesizes that the flowery smell of the cancer cells is similar to the worm’s favorite food. They have also used urine samples from healthy people and those with lung cancer; again, the C. elegans migrated toward the urine from cancer patients. Just like using dogs, C. elegans provides a noninvasive way of detecting cancer at the earliest stages, when it is more treatable—but with an organism much easier to maintain than dogs. Researchers plan to test the usefulness of analyzing urine, saliva, and breath in these microfluidic devices containing C. elegans in clinical trials designed to detect early-stage lung and other cancers.

News briefing from the meeting:

https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/newsreleases/2022/march/worm-on-a-chip-device-could-someday-help-diagnose-lung-cancer.html

 

Related American Chemical Society publications on this topic:

Japan harnesses creepy-crawlies
Katsumori Matsuoka

Exploring Living Multicellular Organisms, Organs, and Tissues Using Microfluidic Systems
Venkataragavalu Sivagnanam and Martin A. M. Gijs

Effect of Cannabidiol on the Neural Glyoxalase Pathway Function and Longevity of Several C. elegans Strains Including a C. elegans Alzheimer’s Disease Model
Joel Frandsen and Prabagaran Narayanasamy

 

3 Reasons to Direct Transfer Your Manuscript from bioRxiv to an ACS Journal

The Editors and staff at ACS Publications, a nonprofit publisher and division of the American Chemical Society, are proud to announce that 12 of the peer-reviewed journals in our biological portfolio are accepting direct transfers of manuscripts and metadata from bioRxiv as of Monday, June 6, 2022.

If you already publish your findings in our journals, we hope this will make that process even easier for you! If you haven’t published in an ACS biological journal recently—or ever—we bet you’ve read one of our articles on PubMed Central or Google Scholar, and hope you’ll read on to learn more.

 

3 Reasons to Publish Your Biological Paper in an ACS Publications Journal

1. ACS Publications is a nonprofit society publisher and a division of the American Chemical Society.

ACS Publications is an experienced publisher with a focus on serving researchers and the scientific community. We do this by:

  • Enlisting practicing researchers from prominent institutions around the world to serve as Editors-in-Chief and other members of our journals’ editorial teams.
  • Employing a high-quality peer-review process developed over more than 140 years of publishing respected scholarly journals.
  • Expediting manuscript processing to deliver decisions and get papers published as quickly as possible.

 

2. ACS has more than 60 years of experience publishing high-quality biological journals.

ACS expanded our engagement with the global community of scientific researchers more than a half century ago. Now we have more than a dozen core biological journals as well as more than 20 multidisciplinary journals and those focused on branches of chemistry that also publish articles about biological research.

 

3. ACS offers authors a variety of publishing options.

Authors who publish with ACS can choose to publish in a hybrid, Plan S-compliant Transformative Journal or in a fully open access journal.

  • Most ACS journals are Transformative Journals, which offer a choice of publishing under the traditional subscription model or under the newer open access model:
    • It’s free to submit and free to publish in an ACS Transformative Journal under the traditional subscription model. That means no author charges, page charges, processing charges or color charges.
    • Once an article is accepted for publication in an ACS Transformative Journal, authors who want to make their article open access—or are required to by their funders—can do so by paying an article publishing charge (APC).
  • ACS also has 12 fully open access journals, including ACS Bio & Med Chem Au, which serves the biological research community. Publishing in these journals also requires paying an APC after article acceptance.

 

Get to Know ACS Publications’ Biological Journals

The 12 journals listed below began accepting direct transfers of manuscripts and metadata from bioRxiv on Monday, June 6, 2022. Read on to learn more about these journals or visit pubs.acs.org to learn about all the full portfolio of ACS journals.

Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
In publication since 1959
Findings on the relationship between molecular structure and biological activity or mode of action in drug discovery and development.
Impact Factor 2021: 8.039 | Citations 2021: 92,468| CiteScore 2021: 11.5
If you have questions about this journal, please send them to jmc@jmedchem.acs.org.

Biochemistry
In publication since 1962.
Exceptional, rigorous, high-impact interdisciplinary research articles across all of biological chemistry.
Impact Factor 2021: 3.321 | Citations 2021: 76,644| CiteScore 2021: 6.2
If you have questions about this journal, please send them to eic@biochem.acs.org.

Journal of Natural Products
In publication since 1979
Reports on natural products related to the chemistry or biochemistry of naturally occurring compounds or the biology of their living systems and environments.
Impact Factor 2021: 4.803 | Citations 2021: 34,341| CiteScore 2021: 7.1
If you have questions about this journal, please send them to proteau-office@jnp.org.

Bioconjugate Chemistry
In publication since 1990
Research articles on all aspects of bioconjugates, including the preparation, properties and applications of biomolecular conjugates.
Impact Factor 2021: 6.069 | Citations 2021: 19,624| CiteScore 2021: 9.4
If you have questions about this journal, please send them to eic@bioconj.acs.org.

Molecular Pharmaceutics
In publication since 2004
Findings that contribute to the molecular mechanistic understanding of drug delivery and drug delivery systems.
Impact Factor 2021: 5.364 | Citations 2021: 24,761| CiteScore 2021: 9.2
If you have questions about this journal, please send them to taylor-office@mp.acs.org.

ACS Chemical Biology
In publication since 2006
Reports of research on cellular processes using in vitro, cellular or whole organism studies at the chemical and biological interface.
Impact Factor 2021: 4.634 | Citations 2021: 17,285| CiteScore 2021: 8.6
If you have questions about this journal, please send them to ed-office@chembio.acs.org.

ACS Chemical Neuroscience
In publication since 2010
Chemical, quantitative biological, biophysical, and bioengineering research reports on the nervous system and neurological disorders.
Impact Factor 2021: 5.780 | Citations 2021: 12,168| CiteScore 2021: 7.7
If you have questions about this journal, please send them to eic@chemneuro.acs.org.

ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters
In publication since 2010
New findings in drug discovery, compound design and optimization, biological evaluation, drug delivery, imaging agents, and pharmacology.
Impact Factor 2021: 4.632 | Citations 2021: 9,499| CiteScore 2021: 6.6
If you have questions about this journal, please send them to eic@medchemlett.acs.org.

ACS Synthetic Biology
In publication since 2012
Reports on integrative, molecular approaches to the understanding of the organization and function of cells, tissues, and organisms in systems.
Impact Factor 2021: 5.249 | Citations 2021: 9,413| CiteScore 2021: 8.3
If you have questions about this journal, please send them to eic@synthbiol.acs.org.

ACS Infectious Diseases
In publication since 2015
Highlights the role of chemistry in the multidisciplinary and collaborative field of infectious diseases.
Impact Factor 2021: 5.578 | Citations 2021: 5,660| CiteScore 2021: 7.7
If you have questions about this journal, please send them to eic@id.acs.org.

ACS Pharmacology & Translational Science
In publication since 2018
A biomedical journal reporting advances across the molecular and biological sciences—from basic and preclinical studies to clinical trials.
If you have questions about this journal, please send them to eic@ptsci.acs.org.

ACS Bio & Med Chem Au
In publication since 2021
Biological and medicinal chemistry covering the chemical, physical, biological, mechanistic, and structural basis of biological function.
If you have questions about this journal, please send them to booker-office@biomedchemau.acs.org.

Get the latest articles from these journals direct to your inbox—sign up for ACS e-Alerts!

2021 in Biochemistry Perspectives

Biochemistry Perspectives are designed to communicate a focused review of the most exciting new developments in a field or area and with an eye toward guiding future research.

Explore the Perspectives published in Biochemistry over the past year:

Antibodies from Lampreys as Smart Anti-Glycan Reagents (SAGRs): Perspectives on Their Specificity, Structure, and Glyco-genomics
Tanya R. McKitrickTanya R. McKitrick, Deniz Eris, Nandini Mondal, Rajindra P. Aryal, Nathanael McCurley, Jamie Heimburg-Molinaro, and Richard D. Cummings
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.9b01015
***
Tafenoquine: A Step toward Malaria Elimination
Kuan-Yi Lu and Emily R. Derbyshire
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.9b01105
***
The Biochemistry of Survival Motor Neuron Protein Is Paving the Way to Novel Therapies for Spinal Muscle Atrophy
Patrick Lomonte, Faouzi Baklouti, and Olivier Binda
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.9b01124
***
mRNA Therapies: New Hope in the Fight against Melanoma
Melissa van Dülmen and Andrea Rentmeister
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.0c00181
***
Mimicking Functions of Native Enzymes or Photosynthetic Reaction Centers by Nucleoapzymes and Photonucleoapzymes
Margarita Vázquez-González, Zhixin Zhou, Yonatan Biniuri, Bilha Willner, and Itamar Willner
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.0c00421
***
Light-Driven Catalytic Regulation of Enzymes at the Interface with Plasmonic Nanomaterials
Heloise Ribeiro de Barros, Fernando López-Gallego*, and Luis M. Liz-Marzán
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.0c00447
***
Hepatocellular Carcinoma and Statins
Ghazal Alipour Talesh, Véronique Trézéguet*, and Aksam Merched
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.0c00476
***
Specificity Distorted: Chemical Induction of Biological Paracatalysis
Brian P. Callahan, Daniel A. Ciulla, Andrew G. Wagner, Zihan Xu, and Xiaoyu Zhang
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.0c00643
***
Targeting Lipid Metabolism in Liver Cancer
Malak Alannan, Hussein Fayyad-Kazan, Véronique Trézéguet, and Aksam Merched
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.0c00477
***
Illuminating the Path to Target GPCR Structures and Functions
Christian D.-T. Nielsen, Divya Dhasmana, Giuseppe Floresta, Thorsten Wohland, and Agostino Cilibrizzi
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.0c00606
***
The Origin of Lipid Rafts
Steven L. Regen
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.0c00851
***
Disulfide Bridging Strategies in Viral and Nonviral Platforms for Nucleic Acid Delivery
Kingshuk Dutta, Ritam Das, Jewel Medeiros, and S. Thayumanavan
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.0c00860
***
Early Strides in NMR Dynamics Measurements
Jane Dyson
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00141
***
Buffers, Especially the Good Kind
Gary J. Pielak
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00200
***
Evolution of Enzyme Function and the Development of Catalytic Efficiency: Triosephosphate Isomerase, Jeremy R. Knowles, and W. John Albery
John A. Gerlt
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00211
***
Long-Acting Cabotegravir for HIV/AIDS Prophylaxis
Kathleen D. Engelman and Alan N. Engelman
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00157
***
Live and Let Dye
Luke D. Lavis
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00299
***
Revisiting Nitric Oxide Signaling: Where Was It, and Where Is It Going?
Michael A. Marletta
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00276
***
Rhodium Complexes Targeting DNA Mismatches as a Basis for New Therapeutics in Cancers Deficient in Mismatch Repair
Adela Nano, Joanne Dai, Julie M. Bailis, and Jacqueline K. Barton
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00302
***
Hydrogen/Deuterium Exchange and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Reveal Dynamic Allostery on Multiple Time Scales in the Serine Protease Thrombin
Riley B. Peacock and Elizabeth A. Komives
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00277
***
Protein Engineering in the Design of Protein–Protein Interactions: SARS-CoV-2 Inhibitors as a Test Case
Jiří Zahradník and Gideon Schreiber
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00356
***
Genetic Code Expansion: A Brief History and Perspective
Mia A. Shandell, Zhongping Tan, and Virginia W. Cornish
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00286
***
Origins of Ca2+ Imaging with Fluorescent Indicators
Xinqi Zhou, Kayla J. Belavek, and Evan W. Miller
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00350
***
Chance Favors the Perplexed Mind: The Critical Role of Mechanistic Biochemistry in Drug Discovery
Robert A. Copeland
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00345
***
Mechanisms of O2 Activation by Mononuclear Non-Heme Iron Enzymes
Edward I. Solomon, Dory E. DeWeese, and Jeffrey T. Babicz Jr.
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00370
***
Correlated Motions in Structural Biology
Da Xu, Steve P. Meisburger, and Nozomi Ando
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00420
***
Liquid–Liquid Phase Separation in Biology: Specific Stoichiometric Molecular Interactions vs Promiscuous Interactions Mediated by Disordered Sequences
Zhe Feng, Bowen Jia, and Mingjie Zhang
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00376
***
Inducible Protein Degradation to Understand Genome Architecture
Alexi Tallan and Benjamin Z. Stanton
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00306
***
Functional Roles of Chelated Magnesium Ions in RNA Folding and Function
Ryota Yamagami, Jacob P. Sieg, and Philip C. Bevilacqua
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00012
***
Drugging the Undruggable: How Isoquinolines and PKA Initiated the Era of Designed Protein Kinase Inhibitor Therapeutics
Robin Lorenz, Jian Wu, Friedrich W. Herberg, Susan S. Taylor, and Richard A. Engh
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00359
***
Phase Separation in Cell Polarity
Heyang Wei and Wenyu Wen
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00372
***
Global Mapping of Metalloproteomes
Xin Zeng, Yao Cheng, and Chu Wang
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00404
***
Low Intrinsic Efficacy Alone Cannot Explain the Improved Side Effect Profiles of New Opioid Agonists
Edward L. Stahl and Laura M. Bohn
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00466
***
Ligandability of E3 Ligases for Targeted Protein Degradation Applications
Bridget P. Belcher, Carl C. Ward, and Daniel K. Nomura
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00464
***
Redefining the Scope of Targeted Protein Degradation: Translational Opportunities in Hijacking the Autophagy–Lysosome Pathway
Katelyn Cassidy and Heng Zhao
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00330
***
The Birth of Genomic Enzymology: Discovery of the Mechanistically Diverse Enolase Superfamily
Karen N. Allen and Christian P. Whitman
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00494
***
Ins and Outs: Recent Advancements in Membrane Protein-Mediated Prokaryotic Ferrous Iron Transport
Janae B. Brown, Mark A. Lee, and Aaron T. Smith
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00586
***
The Moderately (D)efficient Enzyme: Catalysis-Related Damage In Vivo and Its Repair
Ulschan Bathe, Bryan J. Leong, Donald R. McCarty, Christopher S. Henry, Paul E. Abraham, Mark A. Wilson, and Andrew D. Hanson
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00613
***
Bacterial Responses to Iron Withholding by Calprotectin
Adunoluwa O. Obisesan, Emily M. Zygiel, and Elizabeth M. Nolan
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00572
***
Reframing the Protein Folding Problem: Entropy as Organizer
George D. Rose
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00687
***
Toward Elucidating the Human Gut Microbiota–Brain Axis: Molecules, Biochemistry, and Implications for Health and Diseases
Yunjia Lai, Radhika Dhingra, Zhenfa Zhang, Louise M. Ball, Mark J. Zylka, and Kun Lu
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00656
***
Three Rings to Rule Them All: How Versatile Flavoenzymes Orchestrate the Structural Diversification of Natural Products
Marina Toplak and Robin Teufel
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00763
***
Chemoproteomic Analysis of Microbiota Metabolite–Protein Targets and Mechanisms
Xiaohui Zhao, Xinglin Yang, and Howard C. Hang
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00758
***
Protein Engineering in Ribosomally Synthesized and Post-translationally Modified Peptides (RiPPs)
Truc Do and A. James Link
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00714
***
Biochemistry Perspectives are usually submitted by invitation, but suggestions to the Biochemistry editors of both topics and authors are welcome. Make a suggestion:
***

Discover other Biochemistry collections:

Chuan He Named Editor-In-Chief of ACS Chemical Biology

ACS Publications is pleased to announce Professor Chuan He’s appointment as Editor-in-Chief (EIC) of ACS Chemical Biology, replacing founding EIC Professor Laura L. Kiessling. He is the John T. Wilson distinguished service professor in the departments of chemistry and of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Chicago. His research group studies a broad range of topics in chemical biology, nucleic acid chemistry and biology, epigenetics, and genomics. He is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the American Chemical Society Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award, and the ACS Chemical Biology Lectureship Award, among many other awards.

“Since its inception, ACS Chemical Biology has established itself as the main platform for chemical biologists to communicate their research and share scientific discoveries,” says He. “I envision the journal expanding its scope to encompass emerging research areas that are likely to blossom in the coming decade. I also look forward to building relationships with young chemical biologists through new initiatives, and I believe that the journal can play an active role in encouraging all chemical biologists to explore new areas of research.”

Learn More about Professor Chuan He and his vision for ACS Chemical Biology

What is your vision for ACS Chemical Biology as Editor-in-Chief?

Under the leadership of former Editor-in-Chief Professor Laura Kiessling, ACS Chemical Biology has become a platform that glues the chemical biology community and serves everyone. It is the first chemical biology journal run by academic chemical biologists. Its main goal is not to make a profit but to serve the research community of chemical biology. I will strengthen the journal’s role in serving everyone, especially to ensure that we can help young chemical biologists develop their careers. We also care about scientific impact and encourage researchers to submit the latest findings and cutting-edge research ideas to ACS Chemical Biology. I believe many of us are tired of the lengthy revision process after submission, so our editorial team will keep the process of publishing papers as short and streamlined as possible while maintaining high standards.

What are your expectations for submissions to ACS Chemical Biology?

I think there are generally three types of submissions: can be a development of a new method, a new scientific discovery, or the accumulation of data that is valuable to the research community. We welcome different types of submissions, including research resources type work. We plan to have a new mechanism for junior chemical biologists to summarize the scientific significance and breakthroughs of their research.

Can you tell us about your current research?

I started my independent lab working on bioinorganic chemistry, microbiology, and structural biology in the first 6-8 years. Over the past 13 years, my lab has focused more on RNA biology, epigenetics, and genomics. We study nucleic acid chemistry and biology and also use chemical principles to invent new genomics methods. Over the past decade, my lab has been more focused on answering biological questions, but we have recently embarked on several new research directions in chemical biology, and we hope to report results from these new directions in the future.

How did you determine this research direction? What is your advice for choosing a research direction?

For me, there are three criteria for choosing a research direction: first, whether it has great scientific significance; second, whether the pathway has notable in vivo functions or phenotypes; third, whether I can bring in unique ideas or invent methods to help address the challenges.

What advice would you give to young scientists for their career development?

I would suggest going beyond research areas you are familiar with. Have the courage to get into real biology and try to start a new research direction every 5 to 10 years. Consider attending biology conferences like Keystone meetings, and don’t just stay in your familiar field and attend only familiar meetings. As a chemical biologist, your success will be judged by your contribution to biology or the truly useful chemical biology approach you have developed.

Learn more about ACS Chemical Biology and read Professor Chuan He’s 2022 Editorial Statement.