Li, Y.; Kang, C. Solution NMR Spectroscopy in Target-Based Drug Discovery. Molecules 2017, 22, 1399.
Solution NMR spectroscopy is a powerful tool to study protein structures and dynamics under physiological conditions. This technique is particularly useful in target-based drug discovery projects as it provides protein-ligand binding information in solution. Accumulated studies have shown that NMR will play more and more important roles in multiple steps of the drug discovery process. In a fragment-based drug discovery process, ligand-observed and protein-observed NMR spectroscopy can be applied to screen fragments with low binding affinities. The screened fragments can be further optimized into drug-like molecules. In combination with other biophysical techniques, NMR will guide structure-based drug discovery. In this review, we describe the possible roles of NMR spectroscopy in drug discovery. We also illustrate the challenges encountered in the drug discovery process. We include several examples demonstrating the roles of NMR in target-based drug discoveries such as hit identification, ranking ligand binding affinities, and mapping the ligand binding site. We also speculate the possible roles of NMR in target engagement based on recent processes in in-cell NMR spectroscopy.
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)