A structural biology perspective on bioactive small molecules and their plant targets

Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2011 Oct;14(5):480-8. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2011.06.003. Epub 2011 Jul 29.


Structural biology efforts in recent years have generated numerous co-crystal structures of bioactive small molecules interacting with their plant targets. These studies include the targets of various phytohormones, pathogen-derived effectors, herbicides and other bioactive compounds. Here we discuss that this collection of structures contains excellent examples of nine collective observations: molecular glues, allostery, inhibitors, molecular mimicry, promiscuous binding sites, unexpected electron densities, natural selection at atomic resolution, and applications in structure-guided mutagenesis and small molecule design.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Models, Molecular
  • Plant Proteins / chemistry*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Plant Proteins