RMalign: an RNA structural alignment tool based on a novel scoring function RMscore

BMC Genomics. 2019 Apr 8;20(1):276. doi: 10.1186/s12864-019-5631-3.


Background: RNA-protein 3D complex structure prediction is still challenging. Recently, a template-based approach PRIME is proposed in our team to build RNA-protein 3D complex structure models with a higher success rate than computational docking software. However, scoring function of RNA alignment algorithm SARA in PRIME is size-dependent, which limits its ability to detect templates in some cases.

Results: Herein, we developed a novel RNA 3D structural alignment approach RMalign, which is based on a size-independent scoring function RMscore. The parameter in RMscore is then optimized in randomly selected RNA pairs and phase transition points (from dissimilar to similar) are determined in another randomly selected RNA pairs. In tRNA benchmarking, the precision of RMscore is higher than that of SARAscore (0.88 and 0.78, respectively) with phase transition points. In balance-FSCOR benchmarking, RMalign performed as good as ESA-RNA with a non-normalized score measuring RNA structural similarity. In balance-x-FSCOR benchmarking, RMalign achieves much better than a state-of-the-art RNA 3D structural alignment approach SARA due to a size-independent scoring function. Take the advantage of RMalign, we update our RNA-protein modeling approach PRIME to version 2.0. The PRIME2.0 significantly improves about 10% success rate than PRIME.

Conclusion: Based on a size-independent scoring function RMscore, a novel RNA 3D structural alignment approach RMalign is developed and integrated into PRIME2.0, which could be useful for the biological community in modeling protein-RNA interaction.

Keywords: Protein-RNA interaction; RMalign; RMscore; RNA structural alignment.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Computational Biology / methods*
  • RNA / genetics*
  • Sequence Alignment / methods*


  • RNA