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Inferring the conformation of RNA base pairs and triples from patterns of sequence variation.

Authors
  • Gautheret, D
  • Gutell, R R
Type
Published Article
Journal
Nucleic acids research
Publication Date
Apr 15, 1997
Volume
25
Issue
8
Pages
1559–1564
Identifiers
PMID: 9092662
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The success of comparative analysis in resolving RNA secondary structure and numerous tertiary interactions relies on the presence of base covariations. Although the majority of base covariations in aligned sequences is associated to Watson-Crick base pairs, many involve non-canonical or restricted base pair exchanges (e.g. only G:C/A:U), reflecting more specific structural constraints. We have developed a computer program that determines potential base pairing conformations for a given set of paired nucleotides in a sequence alignment. This program (ISOPAIR) assumes that the base pair conformation is maintained through sequence variation without significantly affecting the path of the sugar-phosphate backbone. ISOPAIR identifies such 'isomorphic' structures for any set of input base pair or base triple sequences. The program was applied to base pairs and triples with known structures and sequence exchanges. In several instances, isomorphic structures were correctly identified with ISOPAIR. Thus, ISOPAIR is useful when assessing non-canonical base pair conformations in comparative analysis. ISOPAIR applications are limited to those cases where unusual base pair exchanges indeed reflect a non-canonical conformation.

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