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New AI Tool Can Predict Enzyme Functions from Amino Acid Sequences

AI tool CLEAN

Researchers have reported a new artificial intelligence tool named CLEAN, which can predict the functions of enzymes based on their amino acid sequences, including enzymes that are poorly understood or unstudied. The researchers said that the AI tool CLEAN outperforms the leading state-of-the-art tools in accuracy, reliability, and sensitivity. This AI tool can have a significant impact on research in genomics, chemistry, medicine, and other fields that rely on enzyme functions.

How CLEAN works

Lead researcher Huimin Zhao from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign explained that the team is using the language of proteins to predict their activity, similar to how ChatGPT uses written language data to create predictive text. Researchers working with new protein sequences typically want to know what the protein does right away. Furthermore, this tool can help identify the proper enzymes needed for synthesizing chemicals and materials for various applications in biology, medicine, and industry.

CLEAN outperforms other tools

While other computational tools attempt to predict enzyme¬†functions by assigning an enzyme commission number, CLEAN uses a new deep-learning algorithm called contrastive learning. This approach works better than other AI tools used by researchers, especially when dealing with less-studied or uncharacterized enzymes that perform multiple jobs. The team verified CLEAN’s accuracy experimentally using both computational and in vitro experiments. They found that the tool can predict the functions of previously uncharacterized enzymes, correct mislabeled enzymes, and correctly identify enzymes with multiple functions.

CLEAN is now accessible

The researchers plan to make CLEAN accessible online starting March 31. Researchers can simply enter the sequence in a search box and get results like a search engine. The team hopes that the tool will be widely used by the research community to characterize enzymes and determine whether an enzyme could catalyze a desired reaction. They also plan to expand the AI behind CLEAN to characterize other proteins and predict their functions, such as binding proteins like receptors and transcription factors.

Impact on Research

The new AI tool could be a game-changer in research fields that rely on enzymes’ functions, such as genomics, chemistry, medicine, and pharmaceuticals. CLEAN could help researchers quickly identify the proper enzymes needed for synthesizing chemicals and materials for various applications, leading to faster and more efficient research processes.

Conclusion

The new AI tool, CLEAN, developed by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign researchers, can predict enzyme functions with high accuracy and reliability using amino acid sequences. This tool could revolutionize research in genomics, chemistry, medicine, and pharmaceuticals, where enzyme functions play a crucial role. Researchers can access CLEAN online starting March 31, and the team plans to expand the AI behind the tool to characterize other proteins and predict their functions.

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