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Protein-Protein Interaction Prediction


Protein-Protein Interactions (PPIs) are fundamental to virtually all biological processes, including cellular signaling, immune responses, and metabolic pathways. Understanding PPIs is crucial for revealing the molecular mechanisms of diseases and for the development of new therapeutic strategies. Despite the biological importance of PPIs, accurately predicting these interactions remains a significant challenge due to the complex nature of proteins and the vast number of potential interactions within the human body, estimated to be up to 650,000 types. Traditional methods for studying PPIs involve in vivo (within living organisms) and in vitro (outside living organisms) experiments, which are often time-consuming, expensive, and limited by experimental conditions. Consequently, there has been a growing interest in in silico methods, particularly those leveraging advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), to predict PPIs based on protein sequence data.


Similarity to NLP Problems

The problem of predicting PPIs shares intriguing similarities with natural language processing (NLP) challenges. At its core, NLP involves understanding, interpreting, and generating human language using algorithms and models. Similarly, proteins can be considered to have a "language" encoded in their sequences of amino acids, which determines their structure, function, and interactions with other proteins. Just as words form sentences in human language, amino acids form chains that fold into complex structures, dictating the protein's role and interactions in the biological "conversation" within the cell. Large Protein Language Models (LPLMs), inspired by deep learning models in NLP, treat amino acid sequences as sentences. This analogy allows these models to learn the patterns and rules governing protein functions and interactions without explicit programming. The success of NLP models in understanding and generating text has paved the way for applying similar techniques to protein sequences, offering a promising avenue for PPI prediction.


Project Description

This research project seeks to harness the power of LPLMs for predicting PPIs, focusing on a binary classification task that determines the interaction potential between protein pairs. By adapting and benchmarking classifiers based on LPLMs against diverse PPI datasets, the project aims to evaluate the models' effectiveness in capturing the subtleties of protein interactions.


Intended Outcome

The project intends to illuminate the capabilities of LPLMs in the realm of bioinformatics, specifically in the prediction of PPIs. By doing so, it aspires to contribute to the broader understanding of biological processes, facilitate the discovery of new drug targets, and showcase the interdisciplinary application of AI technologies in solving complex biological problems.