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Biochem Pharmacol. 2006 Mar 30;71(7):1016-25. Epub 2006 Jan 26.

Structure-based drug design meets the ribosome.

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Rib-X Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 300 George Street, Suite 301, New Haven, CT 06511, USA.


The high-resolution structures of the bacterial ribosomal subunits and those of their complexes with antibiotics have advanced significantly our understanding of small-molecule interactions with RNA. The wealth of RNA structural data generated by these structures has allowed computational chemists to employ a drug discovery paradigm focused on RNA-based targets. The structures also show how target-based resistance affects antibiotics acting at the level of the ribosome. Not only are the sites pinpointed where different classes of antibiotics inhibit protein synthesis, but their orientations, relative dispositions, and unique mechanisms of action are also revealed at the atomic level. Both the 30S and the 50S ribosomal subunits have been shown to be "targets of targets", offering several adjacent, functionally relevant binding pockets for antibiotics. It is the detailed knowledge of these validated locations, or ribofunctional loci, plus the mapping of the resistance hot-spots that allow the rational design of next-generation antibacterials. When the structural information is combined with a data-driven computational toolkit able to describe and predict molecular properties appropriate for bacterial cell penetration and drug-likeness, a structure-based drug design approach for novel antibacterials shows great promise.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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