Finding the target sites of RNA-binding proteins.

TitleFinding the target sites of RNA-binding proteins.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsLi X, Kazan H, Lipshitz HD, Morris QD
JournalWiley interdisciplinary reviews. RNA
Date Published2014 Jan

RNA-protein interactions differ from DNA-protein interactions because of the central role of RNA secondary structure. Some RNA-binding domains (RBDs) recognize their target sites mainly by their shape and geometry and others are sequence-specific but are sensitive to secondary structure context. A number of small- and large-scale experimental approaches have been developed to measure RNAs associated in vitro and in vivo with RNA-binding proteins (RBPs). Generalizing outside of the experimental conditions tested by these assays requires computational motif finding. Often RBP motif finding is done by adapting DNA motif finding methods; but modeling secondary structure context leads to better recovery of RBP-binding preferences. Genome-wide assessment of mRNA secondary structure has recently become possible, but these data must be combined with computational predictions of secondary structure before they add value in predicting in vivo binding. There are two main approaches to incorporating structural information into motif models: supplementing primary sequence motif models with preferred secondary structure contexts (e.g., MEMERIS and RNAcontext) and directly modeling secondary structure recognized by the RBP using stochastic context-free grammars (e.g., CMfinder and RNApromo). The former better reconstruct known binding preferences for sequence-specific RBPs but are not suitable for modeling RBPs that recognize shape and geometry of RNAs. Future work in RBP motif finding should incorporate interactions between multiple RBDs and multiple RBPs in binding to RNA. WIREs RNA 2014, 5:111-130. doi: 10.1002/wrna.1201 Conflict of interest: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest for this article. For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.

Alternate JournalWiley Interdiscip Rev RNA