Discovering High-Affinity Ligands for Proteins: SAR by NMR

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Science  29 Nov 1996:
Vol. 274, Issue 5292, pp. 1531-1534
DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5292.1531


A nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)-based method is described in which small organic molecules that bind to proximal subsites of a protein are identified, optimized, and linked together to produce high-affinity ligands. The approach is called “SAR by NMR” because structure-activity relationships (SAR) are obtained from NMR. With this technique, compounds with nanomolar affinities for the FK506 binding protein were rapidly discovered by tethering two ligands with micromolar affinities. The method reduces the amount of chemical synthesis and time required for the discovery of high-affinity ligands and appears particularly useful in target-directed drug research.