A chemogenomic analysis of ionization constants--implications for drug discovery. Academic Article uri icon


  • Chemogenomics methods seek to characterize the interaction between drugs and biological systems and are an important guide for the selection of screening compounds. The acid/base character of drugs has a profound influence on their affinity for the receptor, on their absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicity (ADMET) profile and the way the drug can be formulated. In particular, the charge state of a molecule greatly influences its lipophilicity and biopharmaceutical characteristics. This study investigates the acid/base profile of human small-molecule drugs, chemogenomics datasets and screening compounds including a natural products set. We estimate the acid-ionization constant (pK(a)) values of these compounds and determine the identity of the ionizable functional groups in each set. We find substantial differences in acid/base profiles of the chemogenomic classes. In many cases, these differences can be linked to the nature of the target binding site and the corresponding functional groups needed for recognition of the ligand. Clear differences are also observed between the acid/base characteristics of drugs and screening compounds. For example, the proportion of drugs containing a carboxylic acid was 20 %, in stark contrast to a value of 2.4 % for the screening set sample. The proportion of aliphatic amines was 27 % for drugs and only 3.4 % for screening compounds. This suggests that there is a mismatch between commercially available screening compounds and the compounds that are likely to interact with a given chemogenomic target family. Our analysis provides a guide for the selection of screening compounds to better target specific chemogenomic families with regard to the overall balance of acids, bases and pK(a) distributions.Copyright © 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

publication date

  • January 1, 2013