The chemistry of natural products is fascinating and has continuously attracted the attention of the scientific community for many reasons including, but not limited to, biosynthesis pathways, chemical diversity, the source of bioactive compounds and their marked impact on drug discovery. There is a broad range of experimental and computational techniques (molecular modeling and cheminformatics) that have evolved over the years and have assisted the investigation of natural products. Herein, we discuss cheminformatics strategies to explore the chemistry and applications of natural products. Since the potential synergisms between cheminformatics and natural products are vast, we will focus on three major aspects: (1) exploration of the chemical space of natural products to identify bioactive compounds, with emphasis on drug discovery; (2) assessment of the toxicity profile of natural products; and (3) diversity analysis of natural product collections and the design of chemical collections inspired by natural sources.
Keywords: Chemical space; Databases; Epi-pharmacology; Machine learning; Target fishing; Toxicity; Virtual screening.