MechRetro is a chemical-mechanism-driven graph learning framework for interpretable retrosynthesis prediction and pathway planning

by   Yu Wang, et al.

Leveraging artificial intelligence for automatic retrosynthesis speeds up organic pathway planning in digital laboratories. However, existing deep learning approaches are unexplainable, like "black box" with few insights, notably limiting their applications in real retrosynthesis scenarios. Here, we propose MechRetro, a chemical-mechanism-driven graph learning framework for interpretable retrosynthetic prediction and pathway planning, which learns several retrosynthetic actions to simulate a reverse reaction via elaborate self-adaptive joint learning. By integrating chemical knowledge as prior information, we design a novel Graph Transformer architecture to adaptively learn discriminative and chemically meaningful molecule representations, highlighting the strong capacity in molecule feature representation learning. We demonstrate that MechRetro outperforms the state-of-the-art approaches for retrosynthetic prediction with a large margin on large-scale benchmark datasets. Extending MechRetro to the multi-step retrosynthesis analysis, we identify efficient synthetic routes via an interpretable reasoning mechanism, leading to a better understanding in the realm of knowledgeable synthetic chemists. We also showcase that MechRetro discovers a novel pathway for protokylol, along with energy scores for uncertainty assessment, broadening the applicability for practical scenarios. Overall, we expect MechRetro to provide meaningful insights for high-throughput automated organic synthesis in drug discovery.


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