Our paper Predicting enzymatic reactions with a molecular transformer (David Kreutter, Philippe Schwaller and Jean-Louis Reymond, Chem. Sci., 2021, doi:10.1039/D1SC02362D) has been chosen to be featured on the cover of the July issue of Chemical Science. The paper is available here.
The use of enzymes for organic synthesis allows for simplified, more economical and selective synthetic routes not accessible to conventional reagents. However, predicting whether a particular molecule might undergo a specific enzyme transformation is very difficult. Here we used multi-task transfer learning to train the Molecular Transformer, a sequence-to-sequence machine learning model, with one million reactions from the US Patent Office (USPTO) database combined with 32,181 enzymatic transformations annotated with a text description of the enzyme. The resulting Enzymatic Transformer model predicts the structure and stereochemistry of enzyme-catalyzed reaction products with remarkable accuracy. One of the key novelties is that we combined the reaction SMILES language of only 405 atomic tokens with thousands of human language tokens describing the enzymes, such that our Enzymatic Transformer not only learned to interpret SMILES, but also the natural language as used by human experts to describe enzymes and their mutations.