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Antibody Language Models Point to 'Evolutionarily Plausible' Mutations

In Nature Biotechnology, a Stanford University-led team considers protein language models as a method for designing artificial antibodies based on knowledge of realistic natural protein evolution trajectories. Using a language model-guided strategy to screen a select number of laboratory evolution-related variants in seven antibodies known for binding coronavirus, ebolavirus, or influenza A virus antigens, for example, the investigators were able to narrow in on changes that bolstered binding affinities for mature or unmatured forms of the antibodies. "We improved the affinity of all antibodies after measuring only 20 or fewer new variants of each antibody across just two rounds of evolution, which, to our knowledge, represents unprecedented efficiency for machine learning-guided evolution," they report. "We also demonstrate that the same general protein language models that we sued to affinity mature antibodies can also enrich for high-fitness substitutions to diverse proteins beyond antibodies."

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.