Abstract Motivation The computational prediction of RNA secondary structure by free energy minimization has become an important tool in RNA research. However in practice, energy minimization is mostly limited to pseudoknot-free structures or rather simple pseudoknots, not covering many biologically important structures such as kissing hairpins. Algorithms capable of predicting sufficiently complex pseudoknots (for sequences of length n) used to have extreme complexities, e.g. Pknots (Rivas and Eddy, 1999) has O(n6) time and O(n4) space complexity. The algorithm CCJ (Chen et al., 2009) dramatically improves the asymptotic run time for predicting complex pseudoknots (handling almost all relevant pseudoknots, while being slightly less general than Pknots), but this came at the cost of large constant factors in space and time, which strongly limited its practical application (∼200 bases already require 256GB space). Results We present a CCJ-type algorithm, Knotty, that handles the same comprehensive pseudoknot class of structures as CCJ with improved space complexity of Θ(n3 + Z)—due to the applied technique of sparsification, the number of “candidates”, Z, appears to grow significantly slower than n4 on our benchmark set (which include pseudoknotted RNAs up to 400 nucleotides). In terms of run time over this benchmark, Knotty clearly outperforms Pknots and the original CCJ implementation, CCJ 1.0; Knotty’s space consumption fundamentally improves over CCJ 1.0, being on a par with the space-economic Pknots. By comparing to CCJ 2.0, our unsparsified Knotty variant, we demonstrate the isolated effect of sparsification. Moreover, Knotty employs the state-of-the-art energy model of “HotKnots DP09”, which results in superior prediction accuracy over Pknots. Availability Our software is available at https://github.com/HosnaJabbari/Knotty. Contact email@example.com Supplementary information Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online. © The Author(s) (2018). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)
Bioinformatics – Oxford University Press
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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