Reymond Research Group

University of Bern

One Chiral Fingerprint to Find Them All

Check out our latest paper One Chiral Fingerprint to Find Them All in Journal of Cheminformatics!


Molecular fingerprints are indispensable tools in cheminformatics. However, stereochemistry is generally not considered, which is problematic for large molecules which are almost all chiral. Herein we report MAP4C, a chiral version of our previously reported fingerprint MAP4, which lists MinHashes computed from character strings containing the SMILES of all pairs of circular substructures up to a diameter of four bonds and the shortest topological distance between their central atoms. MAP4C includes the Cahn-Ingold-Prelog (CIP) annotation (R, S, r or s) whenever the chiral atom is the center of a circular substructure, a question mark for undefined stereocenters, and double bond cis–trans information if specified. MAP4C performs slightly better than the achiral MAP4, ECFP and AP fingerprints in non-stereoselective virtual screening benchmarks. Furthermore, MAP4C distinguishes between stereoisomers in chiral molecules from small molecule drugs to large natural products and peptides comprising thousands of diastereomers, with a degree of distinction smaller than between structural isomers and proportional to the number of chirality changes. Due to its excellent performance across diverse molecular classes and its ability to handle stereochemistry, MAP4C is recommended as a generally applicable chiral molecular fingerprint.

Author(s): Markus Orsi and Jean-Louis Reymond