Local sequence-structure motifs in RNA.

Chair for Bioinformatics at the Institute of Computer Science, Friedrich-Schiller-Universitaet Jena, Ernst-Abbe-Platz 2, D-07743 Jena, Germany.
Journal of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (Impact Factor: 0.93). 01/2005; 2(4):681-98. DOI: 10.1142/S0219720004000818
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Ribonuclic acid (RNA) enjoys increasing interest in molecular biology; despite this interest fundamental algorithms are lacking, e.g. for identifying local motifs. As proteins, RNA molecules have a distinctive structure. Therefore, in addition to sequence information, structure plays an important part in assessing the similarity of RNAs. Furthermore, common sequence-structure features in two or several RNA molecules are often only spatially local, where possibly large parts of the molecules are dissimilar. Consequently, we address the problem of comparing RNA molecules by computing an optimal local alignment with respect to sequence and structure information. While local alignment is superior to global alignment for identifying local similarities, no general local sequence-structure alignment algorithms are currently known. We suggest a new general definition of locality for sequence-structure alignments that is biologically motivated and efficiently tractable. To show the former, we discuss locality of RNA and prove that the defined locality means connectivity by atomic and non-atomic bonds. To show the latter, we present an efficient algorithm for the newly defined pairwise local sequence-structure alignment (lssa) problem for RNA. For molecules of lengthes n and m, the algorithm has worst-case time complexity of O(n2 x m2 x max(n,m)) and a space complexity of only O(n x m). An implementation of our algorithm is available at Its runtime is competitive with global sequence-structure alignment.



Available from