The role of targeted chemical proteomics in pharmacology

Br J Pharmacol. 2012 May;166(2):457-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01778.x.


Traditionally, proteomics is the high-throughput characterization of the global complement of proteins in a biological system using cutting-edge technologies (robotics and mass spectrometry) and bioinformatics tools (Internet-based search engines and databases). As the field of proteomics has matured, a diverse range of strategies have evolved to answer specific problems. Chemical proteomics is one such direction that provides the means to enrich and detect less abundant proteins (the 'hidden' proteome) from complex mixtures of wide dynamic range (the 'deep' proteome). In pharmacology, chemical proteomics has been utilized to determine the specificity of drugs and their analogues, for anticipated known targets, only to discover other proteins that bind and could account for side effects observed in preclinical and clinical trials. As a consequence, chemical proteomics provides a valuable accessory in refinement of second- and third-generation drug design for treatment of many diseases. However, determining definitive affinity capture of proteins by a drug immobilized on soft gel chromatography matrices has highlighted some of the challenges that remain to be addressed. Examples of the different strategies that have emerged using well-established drugs against pharmaceutically important enzymes, such as protein kinases, metalloproteases, PDEs, cytochrome P450s, etc., indicate the potential opportunity to employ chemical proteomics as an early-stage screening approach in the identification of new targets.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism
  • Drug Design*
  • Histone Deacetylases / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Malaria / metabolism
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase / metabolism
  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Proteomics*


  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase
  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases
  • Histone Deacetylases