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      Improved accuracy of multiple ncRNA alignment by incorporating structural information into a MAFFT-based framework

      , 1 , 2

      BMC Bioinformatics

      BioMed Central

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          Structural alignment of RNAs is becoming important, since the discovery of functional non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). Recent studies, mainly based on various approximations of the Sankoff algorithm, have resulted in considerable improvement in the accuracy of pairwise structural alignment. In contrast, for the cases with more than two sequences, the practical merit of structural alignment remains unclear as compared to traditional sequence-based methods, although the importance of multiple structural alignment is widely recognized.


          We took a different approach from a straightforward extension of the Sankoff algorithm to the multiple alignments from the viewpoints of accuracy and time complexity. As a new option of the MAFFT alignment program, we developed a multiple RNA alignment framework, X-INS-i, which builds a multiple alignment with an iterative method incorporating structural information through two components: (1) pairwise structural alignments by an external pairwise alignment method such as SCARNA or LaRA and (2) a new objective function, Four-way Consistency, derived from the base-pairing probability of every sub-aligned group at every multiple alignment stage.


          The BRAliBASE benchmark showed that X-INS-i outperforms other methods currently available in the sum-of-pairs score (SPS) criterion. As a basis for predicting common secondary structure, the accuracy of the present method is comparable to or rather higher than those of the current leading methods such as RNA Sampler. The X-INS-i framework can be used for building a multiple RNA alignment from any combination of algorithms for pairwise RNA alignment and base-pairing probability. The source code is available at the webpage found in the Availability and requirements section.

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          Most cited references 41

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          Identification of common molecular subsequences.

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            Comparison of the predicted and observed secondary structure of T4 phage lysozyme.

            Predictions of the secondary structure of T4 phage lysozyme, made by a number of investigators on the basis of the amino acid sequence, are compared with the structure of the protein determined experimentally by X-ray crystallography. Within the amino terminal half of the molecule the locations of helices predicted by a number of methods agree moderately well with the observed structure, however within the carboxyl half of the molecule the overall agreement is poor. For eleven different helix predictions, the coefficients giving the correlation between prediction and observation range from 0.14 to 0.42. The accuracy of the predictions for both beta-sheet regions and for turns are generally lower than for the helices, and in a number of instances the agreement between prediction and observation is no better than would be expected for a random selection of residues. The structural predictions for T4 phage lysozyme are much less successful than was the case for adenylate kinase (Schulz et al. (1974) Nature 250, 140-142). No one method of prediction is clearly superior to all others, and although empirical predictions based on larger numbers of known protein structure tend to be more accurate than those based on a limited sample, the improvement in accuracy is not dramatic, suggesting that the accuracy of current empirical predictive methods will not be substantially increased simply by the inclusion of more data from additional protein structure determinations.
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              The equilibrium partition function and base pair binding probabilities for RNA secondary structure.

               J S McCaskill (2015)
              A novel application of dynamic programming to the folding problem for RNA enables one to calculate the full equilibrium partition function for secondary structure and the probabilities of various substructures. In particular, both the partition function and the probabilities of all base pairs are computed by a recursive scheme of polynomial order N3 in the sequence length N. The temperature dependence of the partition function gives information about melting behavior for the secondary structure. The pair binding probabilities, the computation of which depends on the partition function, are visually summarized in a "box matrix" display and this provides a useful tool for examining the full ensemble of probable alternative equilibrium structures. The calculation of this ensemble representation allows a proper application and assessment of the predictive power of the secondary structure method, and yields important information on alternatives and intermediates in addition to local information about base pair opening and slippage. The results are illustrated for representative tRNA, 5S RNA, and self-replicating and self-splicing RNA molecules, and allow a direct comparison with enzymatic structure probes. The effect of changes in the thermodynamic parameters on the equilibrium ensemble provides a further sensitivity check to the predictions.

                Author and article information

                BMC Bioinformatics
                BMC Bioinformatics
                BioMed Central
                25 April 2008
                : 9
                : 212
                [1 ]Digital Medicine Initiative, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, 812-8582, Japan
                [2 ]Medical Institute of Bioregulation, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, 812-8582, Japan
                Copyright © 2008 Katoh and Toh; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


                Bioinformatics & Computational biology


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