The 3D structures of biomolecular

The 3D structures of biomolecular targets are obtained from X-ray crystallography and NMR. In parallel, information about the structural dynamics and electronic properties about ligands are obtained from calculations. This has encouraged the rapid development of the structure-based drug design. Current methods for structure-based drug design can be divided roughly into two categories. The first category is about «finding» ligands for a given receptor, which is usually referred as database searching. In this case, a large number of potential ligand molecules are screened to find those fitting the binding pocket of the receptor. This method is usually referred as ligand-based drug design. The key advantage of database searching is that it saves synthetic effort to obtain new lead compounds. Another category of structure-based drug design methods is about «building» ligands, which is usually referred as receptor-based drug design. In this case, ligand molecules are built up within the constraints of the binding pocket by assembling small pieces in a stepwise manner. These pieces can be either individual atoms or molecular fragments. The key advantage of such a method is that novel structures, not contained in any database, can be suggested.