Modulation of protein-protein interactions with small organic molecules

Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2003 Jun 6;42(22):2462-81. doi: 10.1002/anie.200200558.


Many proteins exert their biological roles as components of complexes, and the functions of proteins are often determined by their specific interactions with other proteins. Because of the central importance of protein-protein interactions for cellular processes, the ability to interfere with specific protein-protein interactions provides a powerful means of influencing the function of selected proteins within the cell. Cell-permeable small organic modulators of protein-protein interactions are thus highly desirable tools both for the study of physiological cellular processes and for the treatment of numerous diseased states. Herein a number of protein-protein interactions that are considered to be pharmaceutical targets are presented, which will familiarize the reader with the strategies that have been employed for the successful identification of small molecule modulators of these protein-protein interactions. These encouraging examples suggest that combined research efforts in the areas of functional proteomics, assay development, and organic synthesis will open up novel possibilities for the treatment of human diseases in the future.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dimerization
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Humans
  • Molecular Structure
  • Organic Chemicals / chemistry
  • Organic Chemicals / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding
  • Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Proteins / chemistry*
  • Proteins / metabolism*


  • Organic Chemicals
  • Proteins