Fragment-based ligand and drug discovery predominantly employs sp2-rich compounds covering well-explored regions of chemical space. Despite the ease with which such fragments can be coupled, this focus on flat compounds is widely cited as contributing to the attrition rate of the drug discovery process. In contrast, biologically validated natural products are rich in stereogenic centres and populate areas of chemical space not occupied by average synthetic molecules. Here, we have analysed more than 180,000 natural product structures to arrive at 2,000 clusters of natural-product-derived fragments with high structural diversity, which resemble natural scaffolds and are rich in sp3-configured centres. The structures of the cluster centres differ from previously explored fragment libraries, but for nearly half of the clusters representative members are commercially available. We validate their usefulness for the discovery of novel ligand and inhibitor types by means of protein X-ray crystallography and the identification of novel stabilizers of inactive conformations of p38α MAP kinase and of inhibitors of several phosphatases.
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The research leading to these results was supported by funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Seventh Framework Program (FP7/ 2007-2013) and ERC grant agreement no. 268309, from the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research through the German National Genome Research Network-Plus (NGFN-Plus) (grant no. BMBF 01GS08104 to H.W. and D.R.), as well as from the Fonds der Chemischen Industrie.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Supplementary information (PDF 4921 kb)
Representative natural product fragment library (PDF 6271 kb)
Structure data file for representative natural product fragment library (SDF 2006 kb)
Supplementary Table S1 - Summary of commercially available fragments (PDF 11016 kb)
Structure data file for Supplementary Table S1 (SDF 1656 kb)
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Over, B., Wetzel, S., Grütter, C. et al. Natural-product-derived fragments for fragment-based ligand discovery. Nature Chem 5, 21–28 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/nchem.1506
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