CELLE-2: Translating Proteins to Pictures and Back with a Bidirectional Text-to-Image Transformer

Emaad Khwaja · Yun Song · Aaron Agarunov · Bo Huang

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #330
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Wed 13 Dec 3 p.m. PST — 5 p.m. PST


We present CELL-E 2, a novel bidirectional transformer that can generate images depicting protein subcellular localization from the amino acid sequences (and vice versa). Protein localization is a challenging problem that requires integrating sequence and image information, which most existing methods ignore. CELL-E 2 extends the work of CELL-E, not only capturing the spatial complexity of protein localization and produce probability estimates of localization atop a nucleus image, but also being able to generate sequences from images, enabling de novo protein design. We train and finetune CELL-E 2 on two large-scale datasets of human proteins. We also demonstrate how to use CELL-E 2 to create hundreds of novel nuclear localization signals (NLS). Results and interactive demos are featured at

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