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Biol Chem. 2018 Jun 27;399(7):691-710. doi: 10.1515/hsz-2018-0119.

DNA-encoded libraries - an efficient small molecule discovery technology for the biomedical sciences.

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Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, TU Dortmund University, Otto-Hahn-Str. 6, D-44227 Dortmund, Germany.


DNA-encoded compound libraries are a highly attractive technology for the discovery of small molecule protein ligands. These compound collections consist of small molecules covalently connected to individual DNA sequences carrying readable information about the compound structure. DNA-tagging allows for efficient synthesis, handling and interrogation of vast numbers of chemically synthesized, drug-like compounds. They are screened on proteins by an efficient, generic assay based on Darwinian principles of selection. To date, selection of DNA-encoded libraries allowed for the identification of numerous bioactive compounds. Some of these compounds uncovered hitherto unknown allosteric binding sites on target proteins; several compounds proved their value as chemical biology probes unraveling complex biology; and the first examples of clinical candidates that trace their ancestry to a DNA-encoded library were reported. Thus, DNA-encoded libraries proved their value for the biomedical sciences as a generic technology for the identification of bioactive drug-like molecules numerous times. However, large scale experiments showed that even the selection of billions of compounds failed to deliver bioactive compounds for the majority of proteins in an unbiased panel of target proteins. This raises the question of compound library design.


DNA-encoded chemistry; DNA-encoded library; bioactive small molecule; drug identification; molecular evolution; screening

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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