Author(s): Kazan H, Ray D, Chan ET, Hughes TR, Morris Q
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Abstract Metazoan genomes encode hundreds of RNA-binding proteins (RBPs). These proteins regulate post-transcriptional gene expression and have critical roles in numerous cellular processes including mRNA splicing, export, stability and translation. Despite their ubiquity and importance, the binding preferences for most RBPs are not well characterized. In vitro and in vivo studies, using affinity selection-based approaches, have successfully identified RNA sequence associated with specific RBPs; however, it is difficult to infer RBP sequence and structural preferences without specifically designed motif finding methods. In this study, we introduce a new motif-finding method, RNAcontext, designed to elucidate RBP-specific sequence and structural preferences with greater accuracy than existing approaches. We evaluated RNAcontext on recently published in vitro and in vivo RNA affinity selected data and demonstrate that RNAcontext identifies known binding preferences for several control proteins including HuR, PTB, and Vts1p and predicts new RNA structure preferences for SF2/ASF, RBM4, FUSIP1 and SLM2. The predicted preferences for SF2/ASF are consistent with its recently reported in vivo binding sites. RNAcontext is an accurate and efficient motif finding method ideally suited for using large-scale RNA-binding affinity datasets to determine the relative binding preferences of RBPs for a wide range of RNA sequences and structures.
This article was published in PLoS Comput Biol
and referenced in Journal of Computer Science & Systems Biology