Drug-likeness analysis of traditional Chinese medicines: 2. Characterization of scaffold architectures for drug-like compounds, non-drug-like compounds, and natural compounds from traditional Chinese medicines

Sheng Tian, Youyong Li, Junmei Wang, Xiaojie Xu, Lei Xu, Xiaohong Wang, Lei Chen, Tingjun Hou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


Background: In order to better understand the structural features of natural compounds from traditional Chinese medicines, the scaffold architectures of drug-like compounds in MACCS-II Drug Data Report (MDDR), non-drug-like compounds in Available Chemical Directory (ACD), and natural compounds in Traditional Chinese Medicine Compound Database (TCMCD) were explored and compared. Results: First, the different scaffolds were extracted from ACD, MDDR and TCMCD by using three scaffold representations, including Murcko frameworks, Scaffold Tree, and ring systems with different complexity and side chains. Then, by examining the accumulative frequency of the scaffolds in each dataset, we observed that the Level 1 scaffolds of the Scaffold Tree offer advantages over the other scaffold architectures to represent the scaffold diversity of the compound libraries. By comparing the similarity of the scaffold architectures presented in MDDR, ACD and TCMCD, structural overlaps were observed not only between MDDR and TCMCD but also between MDDR and ACD. Finally, Tree Maps were used to cluster the Level 1 scaffolds of the Scaffold Tree and visualize the scaffold space of the three datasets. Conclusion: The analysis of the scaffold architectures of MDDR, ACD and TCMCD shows that, on average, drug-like molecules in MDDR have the highest diversity while natural compounds in TCMCD have the highest complexity. According to the Tree Maps, it can be observed that the Level 1 scaffolds present in MDDR have higher diversity than those presented in TCMCD and ACD. However, some representative scaffolds in MDDR with high frequency show structural similarities to those in TCMCD and ACD, suggesting that some scaffolds in TCMCD and ACD may be potentially drug-like fragments for fragment-based and de novo drug design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5
JournalJournal of Cheminformatics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 21 2013



  • Drug-likeness
  • Murcko frameworks
  • Scaffold
  • Scaffold tree
  • Traditional Chinese medicines
  • Tree maps

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences

Cite this