Boulder ALignment Editor (ALE): a web-based RNA alignment tool

Bioinformatics. 2011 Jun 15;27(12):1706-7. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btr258. Epub 2011 May 5.


Summary: The explosion of interest in non-coding RNAs, together with improvements in RNA X-ray crystallography, has led to a rapid increase in RNA structures at atomic resolution from 847 in 2005 to 1900 in 2010. The success of whole-genome sequencing has led to an explosive growth of unaligned homologous sequences. Consequently, there is a compelling and urgent need for user-friendly tools for producing structure-informed RNA alignments. Most alignment software considers the primary sequence alone; some specialized alignment software can also include Watson-Crick base pairs, but none adequately addresses the needs introduced by the rapid influx of both sequence and structural data. Therefore, we have developed the Boulder ALignment Editor (ALE), which is a web-based RNA alignment editor, designed for editing and assessing alignments using structural information. Some features of BoulderALE include the annotation and evaluation of an alignment based on isostericity of Watson-Crick and non-Watson-Crick base pairs, along with the collapsing (horizontally and vertically) of the alignment, while maintaining the ability to edit the alignment.


Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Base Pairing
  • Internet
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • RNA / chemistry
  • Sequence Alignment / methods*
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA*
  • Software*


  • RNA