CSCI4969-6969 Assign4

Protein Structure Prediction: Simplified AlphaFold

Due: April 16th, before midnight

In this assignment, you will implement a simplified version of the AlphaFold protein structure method. In particular, we will predict only the distance matrix, instead of the full 3D coordinate structure.


For training, testing and validation we will make use of the ProteinNet Dataset. In particular, you can start with the smaller CASP7 set, and then try the larger CASP12 set. The CASP7 dataset has 34,557 structures (training_100). The CASP12 set has 104,059 structures.

The details of the ProteinNet data are mentioned at ProteinNet Records. Each "record" contains the sequence of the protein, followed by PSSM info, secondary structure info, tertiary structure (atomic coords of the $N$, \(C_{\alpha}\), and $C$ atoms per position), an a boolean mask that indicates whether the atomic coords are present or not. Details of how the dataset was created and the training/validation/testing splits can be found in the ProteinNet paper.

The training data is further split into several subsets. The full data is training_100 that has all structures (34,557), whereas training_30 has a subset of 10,333 structures. The "30" means that sequences with over 30% identity are removed to reduce redundancy. You can start with the training_30 subset, or sample it down even further while developing your code.

You can use the pytorch parser to read the proteinnet data.


The input to your method will be the training, validation and testing files from ProteinNet. Given a protein sequence $S$ of length $n$ from the training set, you will read the input features from the one-hot and PSSM info, etc, to create the \(n \times n \times f\) tensor for the sequence $S$, where $f$ is the number of features per $(i,j)$ pair in $S$. For creating $f$, you can concatenate the features (one-hot, PSSM, info-content, etc.) for position $i$ and $j$, and you can also add their element-wise product and absolute value of the difference. At least try concatenation. See if the other alternatives improve the prediction.

You will next implement the residual block framework as described in the AlphaFold paper. However, you need not train on a 220 layer network. Rather you will train on several block groups, where each group (of 4 blocks) cycles through the dilations of 1,2,4,and 8. You should make the "number of block groups" an input parameter. So if we use 2 block groups, then your network will be trained on 8 blocks with two cycles of dilations. Each block should be made up of the different batch-norm, ELU, projections and dilations as described. These layers/activations will make use of the pytorch inbuilt functions, so you have to only define the architecture and forward function.

We will train on each \(64 \times 64\) tile separately. You can create tiles by starting at a randomly chosen position $(s,e)$, and then generating all tiles with a stride of 64 for non-overlapping tiles (or 16 or 32 if you want to have overlaps between tiles); this also assumes that the input tensor has been zero padded as appropriate. You should restrict $s$ and $e$ to be within the first 64 entries (after zero-padding) along each dimension, to generate tiles that cover the entire protein. In particular, different epochs sould start at different $(s,e)$ locations for the same protein, That is, after predicting the distances for the tile, you will compare with the true distances for that tile only. You will first need to discretize the distances between \(\text{2--22} A^\circ\) into 64 equal bins, and another for greater than 22. Total 65 different distance symbols. The you can use cross-entropy loss on the predicted probabilities and true distance symbols (as a variant you can also experiment with direct distance prediction via squared-error loss).

You can monitor the predictions on the validation set of any hyperparameter tuning or early stopping in terms of loss.

For testing you should report the loss, but also the accuracy of contact prediction. That is, a pair $(i,j)$ is in contact if the true distance is below \(8A^\circ\). So for each test sequence, you should sum up the probabilities in the bins corresponding to the "symbols" in the range \(2\text{--}8A^\circ\), and if that is over 0.5 then you can predict that pair to be in contact. You can then report the accuracy for short, medium and long range contacts. Short is defined as \(5 \le |i-j| \le 12\), medium as \(12 \le |i-j| \le 23\) and long as \(|i-j| \ge 23\). In each category, you should report the accuracy for the top $n$, $n/2$ and $n/5$ predictions, where $n$ is the sequence length. Finally, you should averge the accuracy in each range over all of the test protein and report that number.

Besides the alphafold code You may find the following two open-source implementations of alphafold of value in your own implementation: ProSPr and MiniFold.


Submit via submitty, along with an output file (txt/pdf) that summarizes the results of your method in terms of training and testing accuracy values.

Your code must not hardcode any filenames or directories, but rather accept them from the command line input. Your code will be run as: TRAIN VAL TEST NG

where TRAIN is the training file (e.g., training_30), VAL is the validation file and TEST is the testing file. Here NG is an integer that denotes the nubmer of block groups to train on.