Structural analog

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A structural analog, also known as a chemical analog or simply an analog, is a compound having a structure similar to that of another compound, but differing from it in respect to a certain component.[1][2][3]

It can differ in one or more atoms, functional groups, or substructures, which are replaced with other atoms, groups, or substructures. A structural analog can be imagined to be formed, at least theoretically, from the other compound. Structural analogs are often isoelectronic.

Despite a high chemical similarity, structural analogs are not necessarily functional analogs and can have very different physical, chemical, biochemical, or pharmacological properties.[4]

In drug discovery either a large series of structural analogs of an initial lead compound are created and tested as part of a structure–activity relationship study[5] or a database is screened for structural analogs of a lead compound.[6]

Chemical analogues of illegal drugs are developed and sold in order to circumvent laws; such substances are often called designer drugs. Because of this, the United States passed the Federal Analogue Act in 1986; this bill banned the production of any chemical analogue of a Schedule I or Schedule II substance that has substantially similar pharmacological effects, with the intent of human consumption.


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  1. ^ Willett, Peter, Barnard, John M. and Downs, Geoffry M. (1998). "Chemical Similarity Searching" (PDF). Journal of Chemical Information and Computer Sciences. 38 (6): 983–996. CiteSeerX doi:10.1021/ci9800211.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ A. M. Johnson; G. M. Maggiora (1990). Concepts and Applications of Molecular Similarity. New York: John Willey & Sons. ISBN 978-0-471-62175-1.
  3. ^ N. Nikolova; J. Jaworska (2003). "Approaches to Measure Chemical Similarity - a Review". QSAR & Combinatorial Science. 22 (9–10): 1006–1026. doi:10.1002/qsar.200330831.
  4. ^ Martin, Yvonne C., Kofron, James L. and Traphagen, Linda M. (2002). "Do Structurally Similar Molecules Have Similar Biological Activity?". Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. 45 (19): 4350–4358. doi:10.1021/jm020155c. PMID 12213076.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Schnecke, Volker & Boström, Jonas (2006). "Computational chemistry-driven decision making in lead generation". Drug Discovery Today. 11 (1–2): 43–50. doi:10.1016/S1359-6446(05)03703-7. PMID 16478690.
  6. ^ Rester, Ulrich (2008). "From virtuality to reality - Virtual screening in lead discovery and lead optimization: A medicinal chemistry perspective". Current Opinion in Drug Discovery & Development. 11 (4): 559–68. PMID 18600572.

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