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September 26, 2012
EMBL Chemical Biology: Natural Product Leads
I'm listening to Paul Hergenrother (of Illinois) talk about using natural products as starting materials for compound screening libraries. It's a good idea - he takes readily available complex structures and does a range of organic chemistry on each of them, to make non-natural structures that have the complexity and functionality of natural products. I note that he's taken adrenosterone and made azasteroid derivatives (among many others), very similar to what I talked about here. He's also used quinine, gibbererlic acid, and others.
He's taken the collection thus produced and run them through phenotypic cell screens, with what look like interesting preliminary results. The idea is to look for unusual phenotypes and work backwards to new targets from them, so having a pile of unusual compounds is probably a good starting point. Of course, I have a weakness for phenotypic screens in general, and I suspect I'm going to be hearing a lot about them here over the next few days.
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