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Quality, not Quantity: The Role of Natural Products and Chemical Proteomics in Modern Drug Discovery

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Abstract:

Chemical genetics and reverse chemical genetics parallel classical genetics but target genes at the protein level and have proven useful in recent years for screening combinatorial libraries for compounds of biological interest. However, the performance of combinatorial chemistry in filling pharmaceutical pipelines has been lower than anticipated and the tide may be turning back to Nature in the search for new drug candidates. Even though diversity oriented synthesis is now producing molecules that are natural product-like in terms of size and complexity, these molecules have not evolved to interact with biomolecules. Natural products, on the other hand, have evolved to interact with biomolecules, which is why so many can be found in pharmacopoeias. However, the cellular targets and modes of action of these fascinating compounds are seldom known, hindering the drug development process. This review focuses on the emergence of chemical proteomics and reverse chemical proteomics as tools for the discovery of cellular receptors for natural products, thereby generating protein / ligand pairs that will prove useful in identifying new drug targets and new biologically active small molecule scaffolds. Such a system-wide approach to identifying new drugable targets and their small molecule ligands will help unblock the pharmaceutical product pipelines by speeding the process of target and lead identification.

Keywords: chemical biology; chemical genetics; chemical proteomics; drug discovery; natural products; reverse chemical genetics; reverse chemical proteomics; review

Document Type: Review Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1386207043328409

Affiliations: Department of Chemistry, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia.

Publication date: November 1, 2004

More about this publication?
  • Combinatorial Chemistry & High Throughput Screening publishes full length original research articles and reviews describing various topics in combinatorial chemistry (e.g. small molecules, peptide, nucleic acid or phage display libraries) and/or high throughput screening (e.g. developmental, practical or theoretical). Ancillary subjects of key importance, such as robotics and informatics, will also be covered by the journal. In these respective subject areas, Combinatorial Chemistry & High Throughput Screening is intended to function as the most comprehensive and up-to-date medium available. The journal should be of value to individuals engaged in the process of drug discoveryand development, in the settings of industry, academia or government.
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