Exploring biology with small organic molecules

Nature. 2004 Dec 16;432(7019):846-54. doi: 10.1038/nature03196.


Small organic molecules have proven to be invaluable tools for investigating biological systems, but there is still much to learn from their use. To discover and to use more effectively new chemical tools to understand biology, strategies are needed that allow us to systematically explore 'biological-activity space'. Such strategies involve analysing both protein binding of, and phenotypic responses to, small organic molecules. The mapping of biological-activity space using small molecules is akin to mapping the stars--uncharted territory is explored using a system of coordinates that describes where each new feature lies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biology / instrumentation
  • Biology / methods*
  • Chemistry, Organic / methods*
  • Chemistry, Organic / trends*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Phenotype
  • Protein Binding
  • Substrate Specificity