Chernobrovkin A, Marin-Vicente C, Visa N, Zubarev RA
Sci Rep 5 (-) 11176 [2015-06-08; online 2015-06-08]
Phenomenological screening of small molecule libraries for anticancer activity yields potentially interesting candidate molecules, with a bottleneck in the determination of drug targets and the mechanism of anticancer action. We have found that, for the protein target of a small-molecule drug, the abundance change in late apoptosis is exceptional compared to the expectations based on the abundances of co-regulated proteins. Based on this finding, a novel method to drug target deconvolution is proposed. In a proof of principle experiment, the method yielded known targets of several common anticancer agents among a few (often, just one) likely candidates identified in an unbiased way from cellular proteome comprising more than 4,000 proteins. A validation experiment with a different set of cells and drugs confirmed the findings. As an additional benefit, mapping most specifically regulated proteins on known protein networks highlighted the mechanism of drug action. The new method, if proven to be general, can significantly shorten drug target identification, and thus facilitate the emergence of novel anticancer treatments.