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Expert Opin Drug Discov. 2017 Mar;12(3):271-277. doi: 10.1080/17460441.2017.1274727. Epub 2016 Dec 27.

Macromolecular target prediction by self-organizing feature maps.

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a Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences , Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) , Zurich , Switzerland.
b LLC , Zurich , Switzerland.


Rational drug discovery would greatly benefit from a more nuanced appreciation of the activity of pharmacologically active compounds against a diverse panel of macromolecular targets. Already, computational target-prediction models assist medicinal chemists in library screening, de novo molecular design, optimization of active chemical agents, drug re-purposing, in the spotting of potential undesired off-target activities, and in the 'de-orphaning' of phenotypic screening hits. The self-organizing map (SOM) algorithm has been employed successfully for these and other purposes. Areas covered: The authors recapitulate contemporary artificial neural network methods for macromolecular target prediction, and present the basic SOM algorithm at a conceptual level. Specifically, they highlight consensus target-scoring by the employment of multiple SOMs, and discuss the opportunities and limitations of this technique. Expert opinion: Self-organizing feature maps represent a straightforward approach to ligand clustering and classification. Some of the appeal lies in their conceptual simplicity and broad applicability domain. Despite known algorithmic shortcomings, this computational target prediction concept has been proven to work in prospective settings with high success rates. It represents a prototypic technique for future advances in the in silico identification of the modes of action and macromolecular targets of bioactive molecules.


Chemical biology; deep learning; drug design; machine learning; medicinal chemistry; neural network; off-target; phenotypic screening; polypharmacology

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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