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Scientists Generate Original Proteins from Scratch Using AI Technology

Wtf... How is this possible?

  • Scientists have developed an AI system called ProGen that can generate artificial enzymes from scratch.

  • The technology was developed by Salesforce Research and uses natural language processing and next-token prediction to assemble amino acid sequences into artificial proteins.

  • In laboratory tests, some of these enzymes worked as well as those found in nature, even when their artificially generated amino acid sequences

  • The new technology could become more powerful than directed evolution, a Nobel-prize-winning protein design technology, and will speed up the development of new proteins for use in various fields, including therapeutics and degrading plastic.

  • The model was trained by feeding the amino acid sequences of 280 million different proteins into the machine learning model and fine-tuned with 56,000 sequences from five lysozyme families.

  • The AI was even able to learn how the enzymes should be shaped, simply from studying the raw sequence data.

  • Out of this first batch of 100 proteins, the team made five artificial proteins to test in cells, and two of the artificial enzymes were able to break down the cell walls of bacteria with activity comparable to a natural enzyme known as hen egg white lysozyme (HEWL).

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