Molecular fingerprint-based artificial neural networks QSAR for ligand biological activity predictions

Mol Pharm. 2012 Oct 1;9(10):2912-23. doi: 10.1021/mp300237z. Epub 2012 Aug 31.


In this manuscript, we have reported a novel 2D fingerprint-based artificial neural network QSAR (FANN-QSAR) method in order to effectively predict biological activities of structurally diverse chemical ligands. Three different types of fingerprints, namely, ECFP6, FP2 and MACCS, were used in FANN-QSAR algorithm development, and FANN-QSAR models were compared to known 3D and 2D QSAR methods using five data sets previously reported. In addition, the derived models were used to predict GPCR cannabinoid ligand binding affinities using our manually curated cannabinoid ligand database containing 1699 structurally diverse compounds with reported cannabinoid receptor subtype CB(2) activities. To demonstrate its useful applications, the established FANN-QSAR algorithm was used as a virtual screening tool to search a large NCI compound database for lead cannabinoid compounds, and we have discovered several compounds with good CB(2) binding affinities ranging from 6.70 nM to 3.75 μM. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report for a fingerprint-based neural network approach validated with a successful virtual screening application in identifying lead compounds. The studies proved that the FANN-QSAR method is a useful approach to predict bioactivities or properties of ligands and to find novel lead compounds for drug discovery research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual
  • Dermatoglyphics
  • Drug Discovery*
  • Ligands*
  • Models, Chemical*
  • Neural Networks, Computer*
  • Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship*
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2 / chemistry
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2 / metabolism


  • Ligands
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2