Vfold: A web server for RNA structure and folding thermodynamics prediction

Xiaojun Xu, Peinan Zhao, Shi Jie Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

63 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background:The ever increasing discovery of non-coding RNAs leads to unprecedented demand for the accurate modeling of RNA folding, including the predictions of two-dimensional (base pair) and three-dimensional all-atom structures and folding stabilities. Accurate modeling of RNA structure and stability has far-reaching impact on our understanding of RNA functions in human health and our ability to design RNA-based therapeutic strategies. Results:The Vfold server offers a web interface to predict (a) RNA two-dimensional structure from the nucleotide sequence, (b) three-dimensional structure from the two-dimensional structure and the sequence, and (c) folding thermodynamics (heat capacity melting curve) from the sequence. To predict the two-dimensional structure (base pairs), the server generates an ensemble of structures, including loop structures with the different intra-loop mismatches, and evaluates the free energies using the experimental parameters for the base stacks and the loop entropy parameters given by a coarse-grained RNA folding model (the Vfold model) for the loops. To predict the three-dimensional structure, the server assembles the motif scaffolds using structure templates extracted from the known PDB structures and refines the structure using all-atom energy minimization. Conclusions:The Vfold-based web server provides a user friendly tool for the prediction of RNA structure and stability. The web server and the source codes are freely accessible for public use at ''http://rna.physics.Missouri.edu''.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere107504
JournalPloS one
Volume9
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes

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