Herbicides inhibiting the photosynthetic electron transport (PET) system may be an important research target to introduce a biorational approach, since accumulated knowledge of the biological system has already reached a satisfactory level for detail explanation of their behaviors.
Besides structural modification of the known herbicides, an effective molecular design of potent PET inhibitors can be arrived at through consideration of the function of PQ at D 1 protein. New PET-inhibitory structures may also be discovered in natural products. Those compounds should be modified for the installation of herbicidal potency, which might require chemical parameters additional to those of the optimized structures at the binding site.
Binding studies of the PET inhibitors are essential in this type of research since it is very difficult to understand their structure-activity correlation in cases when a minor structural modification causes a dramatic change in their attacking sites.
It is also necessary to devise quick and reliable assay methods for herbicide screening in order to get accurate information about the structural effects and with this strategy the bio-assay using cultured cells has been proven to be a useful tool of structure-activity studies to detect the herbicidal requisites in the structures of PET inhibitors.
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