Computational validation of the importance of absolute stereochemistry in virtual screening

Wesley H. Brooks, Kenyon G. Daniel, Shen Shu Sung, Wayne C. Guida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Consideration of stereochemistry early in the identification and optimization of lead compounds can improve the efficiency and efficacy of the drug discovery process and reduce the time spent on subsequent drug development. These improvements can result by focusing on specific enantiomers that have the desired potential therapeutic effect (eutomers), while removing from consideration enantiomers that may have no, or even undesirable, effects (distomers). A virtual screening campaign that correctly takes stereochemical information into account can, in theory, be utilized to provide information about the relative binding affinities of enantiomers. Thus, the proper enumeration of the relevant stereoisomers in general, and enantiomeric pairs in particular, of chiral compounds is crucial if one is to use virtual screening as an effective drug discovery tool. As is obvious, in cases where no stereochemical information is provided for chiral compounds in a 2D chemical database, then each possible stereoisomer should be generated for construction of the subsequent 3D database to be used for virtual screening. However, acute problems can arise in 3D database construction when relative stereochemistry is encoded in a 2D database for a chiral compound containing multiple stereogenic atoms but absolute stereochemistry is not implied. In this case, we report that generation of enantiomeric pairs is imperative in database development if one is to obtain accurate docking results. A study is described on the impact of the neglect of enantiomeric pairs on virtual screening using the human homolog of murine double minute 2 (MDM2) protein, the product of a proto-oncogene, as the target. Docking in MDM2 with GLIDE 4.0 was performed using the NCI Diversity Set 3D database and, for comparison, a set of enantiomers we created corresponding to mirror image structures of the single enantiomers of chiral compounds present in the NCI Diversity Set. Our results demonstrate that potential lead candidates may be overlooked when databases contain 3D structures representing only a single enantiomer of racemic chiral compounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)639-645
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Chemical Information and Modeling
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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