In Silico Approaches for Determination of Drug Targets
Nikita Chordia and Anil Kumar
It is being realized that most of the pathogens responsible for causing diseases in human and other animals have become resistant to general antibiotics. Therefore, there is more emphasis on the development of specific drugs in present day researches. Bioinformatics has played an important role in this field and due to which cost of drug development is curtailed even upto 60 to 70%. During work on specific drug development, important part is determination of drug target(s). A drug target is a biological molecule whose activity is altered by drug that results in desirable therapeutic effect. Drug targets are mainly enzymes, receptors, ion channels or nucleic acids. Identification of drug targets is very complex process during early drug discovery. After genome sequencing, bioinformatics design essential tools are used for in silico drug target identification. These include tools for genome/ proteome analysis, similarity searching, EST identification, structure prediction, functional prediction, localization prediction, pattern matching, pathway mapping, network analysis, proteinprotein interaction and many more. Using combination of these tools, different approaches are designed to find the drug targets. In this chapter, we have tried to describe some of these approaches with the tools that are used for identification of drug targets. In addition, we also discussed the results obtained in many cases by applying these approaches.
Today, drug discovery is relying on computational methods to accelerate the identification of potential drug targets. This acceleration leads to fast drug discovery process. These computational methods are used based on the available data and resources of the pathogen and disease. However combinations of approaches are also used to fully characterize the drug target. Once a drug target is identified, it is validated by several wet lab techniques.
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