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The ability of target proteins to bind structurally diverse compounds and compounds with different degrees of promiscuity (multi-target activity) was systematically assessed on the basis of currently available activity data and target annotations. Intuitive first- and second-order target promiscuity indices were introduced to quantify these binding characteristics and relate them to each other. For compounds and targets, opposite promiscuity trends were observed. Furthermore, the analysis detected many targets that interacted with compounds representing a similar degree of structural diversity but displayed strong tendencies to recognize either promiscuous or selective compounds. Moreover, target families were identified that preferentially interacted with promiscuous compounds. Taken together, these findings further extend our understanding of the molecular basis of polypharmacology.


Ye Hu, Jürgen Bajorath. Quantifying the tendency of therapeutic target proteins to bind promiscuous or selective compounds. PloS one. 2015;10(5):e0126838

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PMID: 26000736

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