Drug repositioning for enzyme modulator based on human metabolite-likeness

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Background: Recently, the metabolite-likeness of the drug space has emerged and has opened a new possibility for exploring human metabolite-like candidates in drug discovery. However, the applicability of metabolite-likeness in drug discovery has been largely unexplored. Moreover, there are no reports on its applications for the repositioning of drugs to possible enzyme modulators, although enzyme-drug relations could be directly inferred from the similarity relationships between enzyme's metabolites and drugs. Methods: We constructed a drug-metabolite structural similarity matrix, which contains 1,861 FDA-approved drugs and 1,110 human intermediary metabolites scored with the Tanimoto similarity. To verify the metabolite-likeness measure for drug repositioning, we analyzed 17 known antimetabolite drugs that resemble the innate metabolites of their eleven target enzymes as the gold standard positives. Highly scored drugs were selected as possible modulators of enzymes for their corresponding metabolites. Then, we assessed the performance of metabolite-likeness with a receiver operating characteristic analysis and compared it with other drug-target prediction methods. We set the similarity threshold for drug repositioning candidates of new enzyme modulators based on maximization of the Youden's index. We also carried out literature surveys for supporting the drug repositioning results based on the metabolite-likeness. Results: In this paper, we applied metabolite-likeness to repurpose FDA-approved drugs to disease-associated enzyme modulators that resemble human innate metabolites. All antimetabolite drugs were mapped with their known 11 target enzymes with statistically significant similarity values to the corresponding metabolites. The comparison with other drug-target prediction methods showed the higher performance of metabolite-likeness for predicting enzyme modulators. After that, the drugs scored higher than similarity score of 0.654 were selected as possible modulators of enzymes for their corresponding metabolites. In addition, we showed that drug repositioning results of 10 enzymes were concordant with the literature evidence. Conclusions: This study introduced a method to predict the repositioning of known drugs to possible modulators of disease associated enzymes using human metabolite-likeness. We demonstrated that this approach works correctly with known antimetabolite drugs and showed that the proposed method has better performance compared to other drug target prediction methods in terms of enzyme modulators prediction. This study as a proof-of-concept showed how to apply metabolite-likeness to drug repositioning as well as potential in further expansion as we acquire more disease associated metabolite-target protein relations.
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