“Pruning of biomolecules and natural products (PBNP)”: an innovative paradigm in drug discovery
The source or inspiration of many marketed drugs can be traced back to natural product research. However, the chemical structure of natural products covers a wide spectrum from very simple to complex. With more complex structures it is often desirable to simplify the molecule whilst retaining the desired biological activity. This approach seeks to identify the structural unit or pharmacophore responsible for the desired activity. Such pharmacophores have been the start point for a wide range of lead generation and optimisation programmes using techniques such as Biology Oriented Synthesis, Diversity Oriented Synthesis, Diverted Total Synthesis, and Fragment Based Drug Discovery. This review discusses the literature precedence of simplification strategies in four areas of natural product research: proteins, polysaccharides, nucleic acids, and compounds isolated from natural product extracts, and their impact on identifying therapeutic products.