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Title: Towards understanding mode-of-action of traditional medicines by using in silico target prediction
Author: Binti Mohamad Zobir, Siti Zuraidah
ISNI:       0000 0004 7226 2456
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2018
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Traditional medicines (TM) have been used for centuries to treat illnesses, but in many cases their modes-of-action (MOAs) remain unclear. Given the increasing data of chemical ingredients of traditional medicines and the availability of large-scale bioactivity data linking chemical structures to activities against protein targets, we are now in a position to propose computational hypotheses for the MOAs using in silico target prediction. The MOAs were established from supporting literature. The in silico target prediction, which is based on the “Molecular Similarity Principle”, was modelled via two models: a Naïve Bayes Classifier and a Random Forest Classifier. Chapter 2 discovered the relationship of 46 traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) therapeutic action subclasses by mapping them into a dendrogram using the predicted targets. Overall, the most frequent top three enriched targets/pathways were immune-related targets such as tyrosine-protein phosphatase non-receptor type 2 (PTPN2) and digestive system such as mineral absorption. Two major protein families, G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR), and protein kinase family contributed to the diversity of the bioactivity space, while digestive system was consistently annotated pathway motif. Chapter 3 compared the chemical and bioactivity space of 97 anti-cancer plants’ compounds of TCM, Ayurveda and Malay traditional medicine. The comparison of the chemical space revealed that benzene, anthraquinone, flavone, sterol, pentacyclic triterpene and cyclohexene were the most frequent scaffolds in those TM. The annotation of the bioactivity space with target classes showed that kinase class was the most significant target class for all groups. From a phylogenetic tree of the anti-cancer plants, only eight pairs of plants were phylogenetically related at either genus, family or order level. Chapter 4 evaluated synergy score of pairwise compound combination of Shexiang Baoxin Pill (SBP), a TCM formulation for myocardial infarction. The score was measured from the topological properties, pathway dissimilarity and mean distance of all the predicted targets of a combination on a representative network of the disease. The method found four synergistic combinations, ginsenoside Rb3 and cholic acid, ginsenoside Rb2 and ginsenoside Rb3, ginsenoside Rb3 and 11-hydroxyprogesterone and ginsenoside Rb2 and ginsenoside Rd agreed with the experimental results. The modulation of androgen receptor, epidermal growth factor and caspases were proposed for the synergistic actions. Altogether, in silico target prediction was able to discover the bioactivity space of different TMs and elucidate the MOA of multiple formulations and two major health concerns: cancer and myocardial infarction. Hence, understanding the MOA of the traditional medicine could be beneficial in providing testable hypotheses to guide towards finding new molecular entities.
Supervisor: Bender, Andreas Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: traditional medicines ; target prediction ; network biology ; compound combinations