Selectivity aspects of activity-based (chemical) probes

Drug Discov Today. 2021 Oct 30;S1359-6446(21)00477-3. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2021.10.021. Online ahead of print.


Selective chemical modulators are ideal tools to study the function of a protein. Yet, the poor ligandability of many proteins has hampered the development of specific chemical probes for numerous protein classes. Tools, such as covalent inhibitors and activity-based protein profiling, have enhanced our understanding of thus-far difficult-to-target proteins and have enabled correct assessment of the selectivity of small-molecule modulators. This also requires deeper knowledge of compound and target site reactivity, evaluation of binding to noncovalent targets and protein turnover. The availability of highly selective chemical probes, the evolution of activity-based probes, and the development of profiling methods will open a new era of drugging the undruggable proteome.

Keywords: Activity-based probes; Activity-based protein profiling; Chemical probes; Chemoproteomics; Selectivity; Untargeted proteome.

Publication types

  • Review