Applications of Support Vector Machines as a Robust tool in High Throughput Virtual Screening

Renu Vyas, S. S. Tambe, B. D. Kulkarni


Chemical space is enormously huge but not all of it is pertinent for the drug designing. Virtual screening methods act as knowledge-based filters to discover the coveted novel lead molecules possessing desired pharmacological properties. Support Vector Machines (SVM) is a reliable virtual screening tool for prioritizing molecules with the required biological activity and minimum toxicity. It has to its credit inherent advantages such as support for noisy data mainly coming from varied high-throughput biological assays, high sensitivity, specificity, prediction accuracy and reduction in false positives. SVM-based classification methods can efficiently discriminate inhibitors from non-inhibitors, actives from inactives, toxic from non-toxic and promiscuous from non-promiscuous molecules. As the principles of drug design are also applicable for agrochemicals, SVM methods are being applied for virtual screening for pesticides too. The current review discusses the basic kernels and models used for binary discrimination and also features used for developing SVM-based scoring functions, which will enhance our understanding of molecular interactions. SVM modeling has also been compared by many researchers with other statistical methods such as Artificial Neural Networks, k-nearest neighbour (kNN), decision trees, partial least squares, etc. Such studies have also been discussed in this review. Moreover, a case study involving the use of SVM method for screening molecules for cancer therapy has been carried out and the preliminary results presented here indicate that the SVM is an excellent classifier for screening the molecules.


SVM, Drug designing, Virtual screening, Protein, Statistical methods, Molecular screening, Cancer therapy

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