Molecular evolution based on mutagenesis is widely used in protein engineering. However, optimal proteins are often difficult to obtain due to a large sequence space that requires high costs for screening experiments. Here, we propose a novel approach that combines molecular evolution with machine learning. In this approach, we conduct two rounds of mutagenesis where an initial library of protein variants is used to train a machine-learning model to guide mutagenesis for the second-round library. This enables to prepare a small library suited for screening experiments with high enrichment of functional proteins. We demonstrated a proof-of-concept of our approach by altering the reference green fluorescent protein (GFP) so that its fluorescence is changed to yellow while improving its fluorescence intensity. Using 155 and 78 variants for the initial and the second-round libraries, respectively, we successfully obtained a number of proteins showing yellow fluorescence, 12 of which had better fluorescence performance than the reference yellow fluorescent protein (YFP). These results show the potential of our approach as a powerful platform for accelerated discovery of functional proteins.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)