Skip to main content
  • Oral presentation
  • Open access
  • Published:

KRIPO – a structure-based pharmacophores approach explains polypharmacological effects

“The most fruitful basis for the discovery of a new drug is to start with an old one” is a citation from Sir James Black’s Nobel laureate (1988).

The background of this statement lies in the fact that most drugs are able to bind to multiple protein targets in the human body, this is known as polypharmacology. This behaviour can lead to unwanted side effects, and innovative research to avoid such adverse properties is of great importance. Paradoxically, polypharmacology can also be used to create new therapeutic approaches, as the protein to which a drug binds causing a side effect in one case, can be the main target for another treatment. Many cases report about the problems and opportunities of polypharmacology.


In order for a drug to bind to multiple targets, the interaction sites of these targets must be similar on a molecular level. Using KRIPO (Key Representation of Interaction in POckets) [1] with specially developed pharmacophore fingerprints, we provide an objective method to accurately describe protein interactions.


KRIPO was used to explain the molecular mechanism of adverse drug effects of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, better known as statins. A previously unknown binding site for statins in cytochrome b, the major subunit of mitochondrial complex III of the oxidative phosphorylation system, was predicted by KRIPO.


Combining docking studies with KRIPO and experimental data on complex III inhibition enabled us to explain the molecular details of statin binding to the predicted binding site.


  1. Wood DJ, de Vlieg J, Wagener M, Ritschel T: Pharmacophore Fingerprint-Based Approach to Binding Site Subpocket Similarity and Its Application to Bioisostere Replacement. J Chem Inf Model. 2012, 52: 2031-2043. 10.1021/ci3000776.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Tina Ritschel.

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits use, duplication, adaptation, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ritschel, T., Schirris, T.J. & Russel, F.G. KRIPO – a structure-based pharmacophores approach explains polypharmacological effects. J Cheminform 6 (Suppl 1), O26 (2014).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: