Chemical genomics, which utilizes specially designed small chemical compounds early in the discovery phase of new drugs to explore the life science at various levels, can address biological questions that are not amenable to genetic manipulation or functional genomics/proteomics approaches. Following the development of HT phenotypic assays and DNA expression analysis, the integration of cell-based assays with activity / affinity-based approaches allows us to interrogate the cells by analyzing phenotypic alterations, changes of transcript signature or detecting the differences in protein expression levels. Furthermore, activity / affinitybased techniques directly provide a druggable subset of gene products which interact with small molecules, greatly reducing the complexity of analyzing the proteome. In this paper, we give an account of the recent advances (approaches and strategies) in the field of chemical genomics, and discuss how these approaches enable the investigator to obtain a novel therapeutically relevant target as well as drug candidates acting on them in a target-specific manner. This novel post-genomic discovery strategy, where target identification/ validation is carried out by interactions with small molecules, could significantly reduce the time-scale for early drug discovery, and increase the success rate of finding novel, druggable targets, as well as more specific drug candidates.
Keywords: Chemical genomics, chemical genetics, chemical proteomics, affinity based approaches, activity based probes, chemogenomics, chemoproteomics, photochemical proteomics, high-throughput screening