In recent years, there has been an explosion in the availability of publicly accessible chemical information, including chemical structures of small molecules, structure-derived properties and associated biological activities in a variety of assays. These data sources present us with a significant opportunity to develop and apply computational tools to extract and understand the underlying structureactivity relationships. Furthermore, by integrating chemical data sources with biological information (protein structure, gene expression and so on), we can attempt to build up a holistic view of the effects of small molecules in biological systems. Equally important is the ability for non-experts to access and utilize state of the art cheminformatics method and models. In this review we present recent developments in cheminformatics methodologies and infrastructure that provide a robust, distributed approach to mining large and complex chemical datasets. In the area of methodology development, we highlight recent work on characterizing structure-activity landscapes, Quantitative Structure Activity Relationship (QSAR) model domain applicability and the use of chemical similarity in text mining. In the area of infrastructure, we discuss a distributed web services framework that allows easy deployment and uniform access to computational (statistics, cheminformatics and computational chemistry) methods, data and models. We also discuss the development of PubChem derived databases and highlight techniques that allow us to scale the infrastructure to extremely large compound collections, by use of distributed processing on Grids. Given that the above work is applicable to arbitrary types of cheminformatics problems, we also present some case studies related to virtual screening for anti-malarials and predictions of anti-cancer activity.
Cheminformatics, web-service, WSDL, distributed, QSAR, diversity, cancer, malaria
NIH Chemical Genomics Center, Rockville, MD 20850, USA.