Structure based ligand discovery

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Structure based ligand discovery is the use of a macromolecular (usually protein) structure to discover new liggands. At a high level, there are three ways to go about this:

1. have an expert look at the model, and draw a molecule that complements the binding site. 2. Perform #1 using an automatic program. This is called denovo design. 3. Dock a database of small molecules into the binding site, and rank them from best to worst.

The problem with method #1 is that it is very labor intensive, and that any compound invented may be difficult and/or expensive to make. The problem with approach #2 is that the compounds may still be difficult to acquire, although there are strategies to overcome this limitations. It can also be, relatively speaking, slow.

The third approach, docking, is the one taken by DOCK and its graphical user interface, DOCK Blaster.