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Statistical Analysis of RNA Backbone
January-March 2006 (vol. 3 no. 1)
pp. 33-46
Local conformation is an important determinant of RNA catalysis and binding. The analysis of RNA conformation is particularly difficult due to the large number of degrees of freedom (torsion angles) per residue. Proteins, by comparison, have many fewer degrees of freedom per residue. In this work, we use and extend classical tools from statistics and signal processing to search for clusters in RNA conformational space. Results are reported both for scalar analysis, where each torsion angle is separately studied, and for vectorial analysis, where several angles are simultaneously clustered. Adapting techniques from vector quantization and clustering to the RNA structure, we find torsion angle clusters and RNA conformational motifs. We validate the technique using well-known conformational motifs, showing that the simultaneous study of the total torsion angle space leads to results consistent with known motifs reported in the literature and also to the finding of new ones.

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Index Terms:
RNA backbone, statistical analysis, vector quantization, local conformations, torsion angles, conformational motifs.
Citation:
Eli Hershkovitz, Guillermo Sapiro, Allen Tannenbaum, Loren Dean Williams, "Statistical Analysis of RNA Backbone," IEEE/ACM Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 33-46, Jan.-March 2006, doi:10.1109/TCBB.2006.13
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