Steven J. Enoch, Mark T.D. Cronin and Claire M. Ellison
An important molecular initiating event for genotoxicity is the ability of a compound to bind covalently with DNA. However, not all compounds that can undergo covalent binding mechanisms will result in genotoxicity. One approach to solving this problem, when in silico prediction techniques are being used, is to develop tools that allow chemicals to be grouped into categories based on their ability to bind covalently to DNA. For this analysis to take place, compounds need to be placed within categories where the trend in toxicity can be explained by simple descriptors, such as hydrophobicity. However, this can occur only when the compounds within a category are structurally and mechanistically similar. Chemistrybased profilers have the ability to screen compounds and highlight those with similar structures to a target compound, and are thus likely to act via a similar mechanism of action. Here, examples are reported to highlight how structure-based profilers can be used to form categories and hence fill data gaps. The importance of developing a well-defined and robust category is discussed in terms of both mechanisms of action and structural similarity.
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