Quantifying variances in comparative RNA secondary structure prediction

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  • James Wj Anderson
  • ,
  • Adám Novák
  • ,
  • Zsuzsanna Sükösd, Denmark
  • Michael Golden
  • ,
  • Preeti Arunapuram
  • ,
  • Ingolfur Edvardsson
  • ,
  • Jotun Hein, Denmark
BACKGROUND: With the advancement of next-generation sequencing and transcriptomics technologies, regulatory effects involving RNA, in particular RNA structural changes are being detected. These results often rely on RNA secondary structure predictions. However, current approaches to RNA secondary structure modelling produce predictions with a high variance in predictive accuracy, and we have little quantifiable knowledge about the reasons for these variances. RESULTS: In this paper we explore a number of factors which can contribute to poor RNA secondary structure prediction quality. We establish a quantified relationship between alignment quality and loss of accuracy. Furthermore, we define two new measures to quantify uncertainty in alignment-based structure predictions. One of the measures improves on the "reliability score" reported by PPfold, and considers alignment uncertainty as well as base-pair probabilities. The other measure considers the information entropy for SCFGs over a space of input alignments. CONCLUSIONS: Our predictive accuracy improves on the PPfold reliability score. We can successfully characterize many of the underlying reasons for and variances in poor prediction. However, there is still variability unaccounted for, which we therefore suggest comes from the RNA secondary structure predictive model itself.
Original languageEnglish
Article number149
JournalB M C Bioinformatics
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2013

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