Exploring G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) ligand space via cheminformatics approaches: Impact on rational drug design

Shaherin Basith, Minghua Cui, Stephani J.Y. Macalino, Jongmi Park, Nina A.B. Clavio, Soosung Kang, Sun Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


The primary goal of rational drug discovery is the identification of selective ligands which act on single or multiple drug targets to achieve the desired clinical outcome through the exploration of total chemical space. To identify such desired compounds, computational approaches are necessary in predicting their drug-like properties. G Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRs) represent one of the largest and most important integral membrane protein families. These receptors serve as increasingly attractive drug targets due to their relevance in the treatment of various diseases, such as inflammatory disorders, metabolic imbalances, cardiac disorders, cancer, monogenic disorders, etc. In the last decade, multitudes of three-dimensional (3D) structures were solved for diverse GPCRs, thus referring to this period as the "golden age for GPCR structural biology." Moreover, accumulation of data about the chemical properties of GPCR ligands has garnered much interest toward the exploration of GPCR chemical space. Due to the steady increase in the structural, ligand, and functional data of GPCRs, several cheminformatics approaches have been implemented in its drug discovery pipeline. In this review, we mainly focus on the cheminformatics-based paradigms in GPCR drug discovery. We provide a comprehensive view on the ligand- and structure-based cheminformatics approaches which are best illustrated via GPCR case studies. Furthermore, an appropriate combination of ligand-based knowledge with structure-based ones, i.e., integrated approach, which is emerging as a promising strategy for cheminformatics-based GPCR drug design is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number128
JournalFrontiers in Pharmacology
Issue numberMAR
StatePublished - 9 Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Mid-career Researcher Program (NRF-2017R1A2B4010084) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF)

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Basith, Cui, Macalino, Park, Clavio, Kang and Choi.


  • Cheminformatics
  • Drug discovery
  • GPCR
  • Ligand-based drug design
  • Structure-based drug design


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