Finding Chemical Probes and Modulators – The Hunt for New Chemical Reagents and Medicines


This blog post is a continuation of last week’s blog on finding biological assay data; it is intended for researchers who use PubChem.

Your research focuses on a protein (receptor or enzyme) for which you’d like to identify a chemical probe or modulator. The probe could help to identify the subcellular location of a protein. A modulator may help to determine the biological effects of a particular protein’s activity. Additionally, finding a novel chemical that binds to your protein might assist you in exploring the use of a new class of therapeutics in drug design.

At NCBI, the PubChem BioAssay database stores biological activity assay information, which makes it possible to find experimentally measured targets for millions of chemicals. This blog post shows a simple workflow to download a table (with raw and kinetic data) of chemicals that have been determined to bind to a particular gene/protein target.

Continue reading

A Fourth Offering of A Librarian’s Guide to NCBI


This blog post is directed toward medical or science librarians in the United States who offer bioinformatics education and support services or are planning to offer such services in the future.

The NCBI, in partnership with the National Library of Medicine Training Center (NTC), will once again offer the Librarian’s Guide to NCBI course on the NIH campus, March 7-11, 2016 (Announcement). This will be the fourth presentation of the course, and there are now 69 graduates of the training program.

These graduates represent 61 libraries, hospitals and government agencies from 27 states and the District of Columbia. Librarian’s Guide graduates now form a core community of NCBI-trained bioinformatics support specialists who maintain collaboration and mutual support through an online forum and monthly NCBI “Office hours” videoconference discussion sessions with course faculty and students. Materials from the 2013, 2014 and 2015 courses are available now, as well as lecture videos for the expression module.

Librarian's Guide 2015 class photo

Figure 1. Participants in the March 2015 A Librarian’s Guide to NCBI course. This class included 29 biomedical and science librarians.

Continue reading

Identifying Chemical Targets – Finding Potential Cross-Reactions and Predicting Side Effects


This blog post is directed toward researchers using PubChem.

You’ve identified a chemical that you’d like to use in your research as a chemical probe for a receptor or an enzyme inhibitor. However, chemicals are known to be able to bind to multiple protein targets, commonly known as “cross-reactivity”. In biological activity assays, this can cause problems with measuring the activity of a specific protein or pathway. If the chemical is employed as a medicant in living organisms, interactions with molecules other than the intended target can cause “side effects”.

At NCBI, the PubChem BioAssay database stores biological activity assay information that makes it possible to find experimentally measured targets for millions of chemicals. This blog post describes a workflow to download a table of gene/protein targets for a particular chemical.

Tamoxifen compound page.

Figure 1. Tamoxifen compound page.

Continue reading