Prediction of drug-target interactions and drug repositioning via network-based inference

PLoS Comput Biol. 2012;8(5):e1002503. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002503. Epub 2012 May 10.


Drug-target interaction (DTI) is the basis of drug discovery and design. It is time consuming and costly to determine DTI experimentally. Hence, it is necessary to develop computational methods for the prediction of potential DTI. Based on complex network theory, three supervised inference methods were developed here to predict DTI and used for drug repositioning, namely drug-based similarity inference (DBSI), target-based similarity inference (TBSI) and network-based inference (NBI). Among them, NBI performed best on four benchmark data sets. Then a drug-target network was created with NBI based on 12,483 FDA-approved and experimental drug-target binary links, and some new DTIs were further predicted. In vitro assays confirmed that five old drugs, namely montelukast, diclofenac, simvastatin, ketoconazole, and itraconazole, showed polypharmacological features on estrogen receptors or dipeptidyl peptidase-IV with half maximal inhibitory or effective concentration ranged from 0.2 to 10 µM. Moreover, simvastatin and ketoconazole showed potent antiproliferative activities on human MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell line in MTT assays. The results indicated that these methods could be powerful tools in prediction of DTIs and drug repositioning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Binding Sites
  • Databases, Protein*
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Drug Design*
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / chemistry*
  • Protein Binding
  • Proteins / chemistry*


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Proteins