Generative Models for Graph-Based Protein Design

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 32 (NeurIPS 2019)

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John Ingraham, Vikas Garg, Regina Barzilay, Tommi Jaakkola


Engineered proteins offer the potential to solve many problems in biomedicine, energy, and materials science, but creating designs that succeed is difficult in practice. A significant aspect of this challenge is the complex coupling between protein sequence and 3D structure, with the task of finding a viable design often referred to as the inverse protein folding problem. We develop relational language models for protein sequences that directly condition on a graph specification of the target structure. Our approach efficiently captures the complex dependencies in proteins by focusing on those that are long-range in sequence but local in 3D space. Our framework significantly improves in both speed and robustness over conventional and deep-learning-based methods for structure-based protein sequence design, and takes a step toward rapid and targeted biomolecular design with the aid of deep generative models.