DOI: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btae142 ISSN: 1367-4803

AACFlow: An end-to-end model based on attention augmented convolutional neural network and flow-attention mechanism for identification of anticancer peptides

Shengli Zhang, Ya Zhao, Yunyun Liang
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Statistics and Probability



Anticancer peptides (ACPs) have natural cationic properties and can act on the anionic cell membrane of cancer cells to kill cancer cells. Therefore, ACPs have become a potential anticancer drug with good research value and prospect.


In this paper, we propose AACFlow, an end-to-end model for identification of ACPs based on deep learning. End-to-end models have more room to automatically adjust according to the data, making the overall fit better and reducing error propagation. The combination of attention augmented convolutional neural network (AAConv) and multi-layer convolutional neural network (CNN) forms a deep representation learning module, which is used to obtain global and local information on the sequence. Based on the concept of flow network, multi-head flow-attention mechanism is introduced to mine the deep features of the sequence to improve the efficiency of the model. On the independent test dataset, the ACC, Sn, Sp, and AUC values of AACFlow are 83.9%, 83.0%, 84.8%, and 0.892, respectively, which are 4.9%, 1.5%, 8.0%, and 0.016 higher than those of the baseline model. The MCC value is 67.85%. In addition, we visualize the features extracted by each module to enhance the interpretability of the model. Various experiments show that our model is more competitive in predicting ACPs.


The codes and datasets are accessible at

Supplementary information

Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

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