DATABASE: Pinning Down RNA

Science  05 May 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5774, pp. 665
DOI: 10.1126/science.312.5774.665d

RNA is a slippery character that can trick software that deduces molecular architecture from crystallography and nuclear magnetic resonance data. As a result, RNA structures in public databases often contain errors. RNABase can help researchers identify these mistakes and find more likely conformations. Developed and curated by molecular biophysicist Venkatesh Murthy of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, the site automatically collects and analyzes every RNA structure in the Protein Data Bank and the Nucleic Acid Database—more than 800 molecules so far. Entries in RNABase include a list of “outliers,” or errors in the published structure, along with contour maps that indicate which positions are possible and impossible for each nucleotide in the molecule.

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