Skip to yearly menu bar Skip to main content


ProtST: Multi-Modality Learning of Protein Sequences and Biomedical Texts

Minghao Xu · Xinyu Yuan · Santiago Miret · Jian Tang

Ballroom A


Current protein language models (PLMs) learn protein representations mainly based on their sequences, thereby well capturing co-evolutionary information, but they are unable to explicitly acquire protein functions, which is the end goal of protein representation learning. Fortunately, for many proteins, their textual property descriptions are available, where their various functions are also described. Motivated by this fact, we first build the ProtDescribe dataset to augment protein sequences with text descriptions of their functions and other important properties. Based on this dataset, we propose the ProtST framework to enhance Protein Sequence pre-training and understanding by biomedical Texts. During pre-training, we design three types of tasks, i.e., unimodal mask prediction, multimodal representation alignment and multimodal mask prediction, to enhance a PLM with protein property information with different granularities and, at the same time, preserve the PLM's original representation power. On downstream tasks, ProtST enables both supervised learning and zero-shot prediction. We verify the superiority of ProtST-induced PLMs over previous ones on diverse representation learning benchmarks. Under the zero-shot setting, we show the effectiveness of ProtST on zero-shot protein classification, and ProtST also enables functional protein retrieval from a large-scale database without any function annotation.

Chat is not available.