Chemical Dimerizers in Three-Hybrid Systems for Small Molecule-Target Protein Profiling

ACS Chem Biol. 2016 Aug 19;11(8):2075-90. doi: 10.1021/acschembio.5b00811. Epub 2016 Jun 20.


The identification of the molecular targets and mechanisms underpinning the beneficial or detrimental effects of small-molecule leads and drugs constitutes a crucial aspect of current drug discovery. Over the last two decades, three-hybrid (3H) systems have progressively taken an important position in the armamentarium of small molecule-target protein profiling technologies. Yet, a prerequisite for successful 3H analysis is the availability of appropriate chemical inducers of dimerization. Herein, we present a comprehensive and critical overview of the chemical dimerizers specifically applied in both yeast and mammalian three-hybrid systems for small molecule-target protein profiling within the broader scope of target deconvolution and drug discovery. Furthermore, examples and alternative suggestions for typical components of chemical dimerizers for 3H systems are discussed. As illustrated, more tools have become available that increase the sensitivity and efficiency of 3H-based screening platforms. Hence, it is anticipated that the great potential of 3H systems will further materialize in important contributions to drug discovery.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dimerization
  • Drug Discovery
  • Humans
  • Proteins / chemistry*


  • Proteins