Inverse folding with RNA-As-Graphs produces a large pool of candidate sequences with target topologies

Swati Jain, Yunwen Tao, Tamar Schlick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present an RNA-As-Graphs (RAG) based inverse folding algorithm, RAG-IF, to design novel RNA sequences that fold onto target tree graph topologies. The algorithm can be used to enhance our recently reported computational design pipeline (Jain et al., NAR 2018). The RAG approach represents RNA secondary structures as tree and dual graphs, where RNA loops and helices are coarse-grained as vertices and edges, opening the usage of graph theory methods to study, predict, and design RNA structures. Our recently developed computational pipeline for design utilizes graph partitioning (RAG-3D) and atomic fragment assembly (F-RAG) to design sequences to fold onto RNA-like tree graph topologies; the atomic fragments are taken from existing RNA structures that correspond to tree subgraphs. Because F-RAG may not produce the target folds for all designs, automated mutations by RAG-IF algorithm enhance the candidate pool markedly. The crucial residues for mutation are identified by differences between the predicted and the target topology. A genetic algorithm then mutates the selected residues, and the successful sequences are optimized to retain only the minimal or essential mutations. Here we evaluate RAG-IF for 6 RNA-like topologies and generate a large pool of successful candidate sequences with a variety of minimal mutations. We find that RAG-IF adds robustness and efficiency to our RNA design pipeline, making inverse folding motivated by graph topology rather than secondary structure more productive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107438
JournalJournal of Structural Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • Automatic mutations
  • Genetic algorithm
  • RNA As Graphs
  • RNA sequence design
  • RNA-like topology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology


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