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Fast prediction of RNA-RNA interaction

Raheleh Salari1, Rolf Backofen2 and S Cenk Sahinalp1*

Author Affiliations

1 School of Computing Science, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada

2 Institute für Informatik, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg, Germany

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Algorithms for Molecular Biology 2010, 5:5  doi:10.1186/1748-7188-5-5

Published: 4 January 2010



Regulatory antisense RNAs are a class of ncRNAs that regulate gene expression by prohibiting the translation of an mRNA by establishing stable interactions with a target sequence. There is great demand for efficient computational methods to predict the specific interaction between an ncRNA and its target mRNA(s). There are a number of algorithms in the literature which can predict a variety of such interactions - unfortunately at a very high computational cost. Although some existing target prediction approaches are much faster, they are specialized for interactions with a single binding site.


In this paper we present a novel algorithm to accurately predict the minimum free energy structure of RNA-RNA interaction under the most general type of interactions studied in the literature. Moreover, we introduce a fast heuristic method to predict the specific (multiple) binding sites of two interacting RNAs.


We verify the performance of our algorithms for joint structure and binding site prediction on a set of known interacting RNA pairs. Experimental results show our algorithms are highly accurate and outperform all competitive approaches.