The Interactome in the context of drug design

Wednesday, March 31th, 2010 by hinrich

Workshop Poster

Last week I attended the workshop "New Approaches in Drug Design & Discovery" with the topic "The Interactome: From Atom-Atom Contacts to Networks in Systems Biology". It took place at Schloss Rauischholzhausen in Germany and coincided with the first warm and sunny days of this year. The meeting was very well organized thanks to the whole group of Prof. Gerhard Klebe of the University of Marburg.

As molecular modeling is certainly not my area of expertise, the workshop was a great introduction to the issues and opportunities of current drug design approaches. However, in the context of the IWT-sponsored project on compound profiling using whole genome gene expression analysis that I am currently running, it is of high relevance.

Here are some statements / questions / provocative thoughts from the meeting that I find particularly remarkable:

Can we really reduce the complexity of biology to simple rules?
Systems Biology is about putting together rather than taking apart.
Pathway diagrams often tell us only who is interacting but not how they are interacting.
We have a lot of information about the structure of an interaction component but not much about the structure of the interaction.
The binding of a small molecule to a protein can induce the formation of a binding pocket that fits well the small molecule.
Bad news for automatic docking: quite some differences in structure of the binding pocket can be induced depending on the binding inhibitor compound.
The majority of compounds are not selective. A given compound is currently known to have on average 6 targets.
Only 10% of the kinome is covered by publications in PubMed.
A major disadvantage of RNAi technology is that you need to wait for protein depletion and that can take some time (in contrast to e.g., chemical probes).
You may not want to know too many details!
You should not generalize too early!

Posted in Science