ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-120314-5
Small zebrafish in a big chemical pond
Helenius, I.T., and Yeh, J.R.
The number of possible small organic molecules of different structure is virtually limitless. One of the main goals of chemical biologists is to identify, from this “chemical space”, entities that affect biological processes or systems in a specific manner. This can lead to a better understanding of the regulation and components of various biological machineries, as well as provide insights into efficacious therapeutic targets and drug candidates. However, the challenges confronting chemical biologists are multiple. How do we efficiently identify compounds that possess desirable activities without unwanted off-target effects? Once a candidate compound has been found, how do we determine its mode of action? In this Prospects piece, we call attention to recent studies using embryonic and larval zebrafish to illustrate the breadth and depth of questions in chemical biology that may be addressed using this model, and hope that they can serve as catalysts for future investigational ideas.
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