Chapter 5Pharmacophore Models for Toxicology Prediction

Daniela Schuster

Institute of Pharmacy/Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria

5.1 Introduction

For the virtual screening-based discovery of bioactive compounds, pharmacophore models have been successfully used for three decades now. However, the concept of a pharmacophore, then also called toxicophore or haptophore, was first defined by Ehrlich [1] and later redefined by Schueler [2, 3]. It is defined by the IUPAC as “… the ensemble of steric and electronic features that is necessary to ensure the optimal supramolecular interactions with a specific biological target structure and to trigger (or to block) its biological response. A pharmacophore does not represent a real molecule or a real association of functional groups, but a purely abstract concept that accounts for the common molecular interaction capacities of a group of compounds toward their target structure.” [4]. Pharmacophore models consist of so-called chemical features that represent specific molecular interaction types such as hydrogen bonds, aromatic interactions, charged centers, metal interactions, ...

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