X-ray Crystallography and Computational Docking for the Detection and Development of Protein–Ligand Interactions

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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterised by the selective dysfunction and death of the upper and lower motor neurons. Median survival rates are between 3 and 5 years after diagnosis. Mutations in the gene encoding Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) have been linked to a subset of familial forms of ALS (fALS). Herein, we describe a fragment- based drug discovery (FBDD) approach for the investigation of small molecule binding sites in SOD1. X-ray crystallography has been used as the primary screening method and has been shown to directly detect protein-ligand interactions which cannot be unambiguously identified using other biophysical methods. The structural requirements for effective binding at Trp32 are detailed for a series of quinazoline-containing compounds. The investigation of an additional site that binds a range of catecholamines and the use of computational modelling to assist fragment evolution is discussed. This study also highlights the importance of ligand solubility for successful Xray crystallographic campaigns in lead compound design.
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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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