Opening up connectivity between documents, structures and bioactivity
Beilstein J Org Chem. 2020 Apr 2;16:596-606. doi: 10.3762/bjoc.16.54. eCollection 2020.
Bioscientists reading papers or patents strive to discern the key relationships reported within a document "D" where a bioactivity "A" with a quantitative result "R" (e.g., an IC50) is reported for chemical structure "C" that modulates (e.g., inhibits) a protein target "P". A useful shorthand for this connectivity thus becomes DARCP. The problem at the core of this article is that the community has spent millions effectively burying these relationships in PDFs over many decades but must now spend millions more trying to get them back out. The key imperative for this is to increase the flow into structured open databases. The positive impacts will include expanded data mining opportunities for drug discovery and chemical biology. Over the last decade commercial sources have manually extracted DARCP from ≈300,000 documents encompassing ≈7 million compounds interacting with ≈10,000 targets. Over a similar time, the Guide to Pharmacology, BindingDB and ChEMBL have carried out analogues DARCP extractions. Although their expert-curated numbers are lower (i.e., ≈2 million compounds against ≈3700 human proteins), these open sources have the great advantage of being merged within PubChem. Parallel efforts have focused on the extraction of document-to-compound (D-C-only) connectivity. In the absence of molecular mechanism of action (mmoa) annotation, this is of less value but can be automatically extracted. This has been significantly accomplished for patents, (e.g., by IBM, SureChEMBL and WIPO) for over 30 million compounds in PubChem. These have recently been joined by 1.4 million D-C submissions from three major chemistry publishers. In addition, both the European and US PubMed Central portals now add chemistry look-ups from abstracts and full-text papers. However, the fully automated extraction of DARCLP has not yet been achieved. This stands in contrast to the ability of biocurators to discern these relationships in minutes. Unfortunately, no journals have yet instigated a flow of author-specified DARCP directly into open databases. Progress may come from trends such as open science, open access (OA), findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR), resource description framework (RDF) and WikiData. However, we will need to await the technical applicability in respect to DARCP capture to see if this opens up connectivity.