Major advances have recently defined functions for human mono-ADP-ribosylating PARP enzymes (mono-ARTs), also opening up potential applications for targeting them to treat diseases. Structural biology combined with medicinal chemistry has allowed the design of potent small molecule inhibitors which typically bind to the catalytic domain. Most of these inhibitors are at the early stages, but some have already a suitable profile to be used as chemical tools. One compound targeting PARP7 has even progressed to clinical trials. In this review, we collect inhibitors of mono-ARTs with a typical “H–Y−Φ” motif (Φ = hydrophobic residue) and focus on compounds that have been reported as active against one or a restricted number of enzymes. We discuss them from a medicinal chemistry point of view and include an analysis of the available crystal structures, allowing us to craft a pharmacophore model that lays the foundation for obtaining new potent and more specific inhibitors.
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