HIT: linking herbal active ingredients to targets

Nucleic Acids Res. 2011 Jan;39(Database issue):D1055-9. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkq1165. Epub 2010 Nov 21.


The information of protein targets and small molecule has been highly valued by biomedical and pharmaceutical research. Several protein target databases are available online for FDA-approved drugs as well as the promising precursors that have largely facilitated the mechanistic study and subsequent research for drug discovery. However, those related resources regarding to herbal active ingredients, although being unusually valued as a precious resource for new drug development, is rarely found. In this article, a comprehensive and fully curated database for Herb Ingredients' Targets (HIT, http://lifecenter.sgst.cn/hit/) has been constructed to complement above resources. Those herbal ingredients with protein target information were carefully curated. The molecular target information involves those proteins being directly/indirectly activated/inhibited, protein binders and enzymes whose substrates or products are those compounds. Those up/down regulated genes are also included under the treatment of individual ingredients. In addition, the experimental condition, observed bioactivity and various references are provided as well for user's reference. Derived from more than 3250 literatures, it currently contains 5208 entries about 1301 known protein targets (221 of them are described as direct targets) affected by 586 herbal compounds from more than 1300 reputable Chinese herbs, overlapping with 280 therapeutic targets from Therapeutic Targets Database (TTD), and 445 protein targets from DrugBank corresponding to 1488 drug agents. The database can be queried via keyword search or similarity search. Crosslinks have been made to TTD, DrugBank, KEGG, PDB, Uniprot, Pfam, NCBI, TCM-ID and other databases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Data Mining
  • Databases, Factual*
  • Drug Discovery*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / chemistry
  • Plant Preparations / chemistry*
  • Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Proteins / chemistry*
  • Proteins / metabolism


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Plant Preparations
  • Proteins