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In Briefings in functional genomics

Deep learning has been increasingly used in bioinformatics, especially in sequence-based protein prediction tasks, as large amounts of biological data are available and deep learning techniques have been developed rapidly in recent years. For sequence-based protein prediction tasks, the selection of a suitable model architecture is essential, whereas sequence data representation is a major factor in controlling model performance. Here, we summarized all the main approaches that are used to represent protein sequence data (amino acid sequence encoding or embedding), which include end-to-end embedding methods, non-contextual embedding methods and embedding methods that use transfer learning and others that are applied for some specific tasks (such as protein sequence embedding based on extracted features for protein structure predictions and graph convolutional network-based embedding for drug discovery tasks). We have also reviewed the architectures of various types of embedding models theoretically and the development of these types of sequence embedding approaches to facilitate researchers and users in selecting the model that best suits their requirements.

Cui Feifei, Zhang Zilong, Zou Quan


deep learning, end-to-end learning, protein sequence embedding, sequence representation, transfer learning