Improvement of structure conservation index with centroid estimators


RNAz, a support vector machine (SVM) approach for identifying functional non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), has been proven to be one of the most accurate tools for this goal. Among the measurements used in RNAz, the Structure Conservation Index (SCI) which evaluates the evolutionary conservation of RNA secondary structures in terms of folding energies, has been reported to have an extremely high discrimination capability. However, for practical use of RNAz on the genome-wide search, a relatively high false discovery rate has unfortunately been estimated. It is conceivable that multiple alignments produced by a standard aligner that does not consider any secondary structures are not suitable for identifying ncRNAs in some cases and incur high false discovery rate. In this study, we propose C-SCI, an improved measurement based on the SCI applying gamma-centroid estimators to incorporate the robustness against low quality multiple alignments. Our experiments show that the C-SCI achieves higher accuracy than the original SCI for not only human-curated structural alignments but also low quality alignments produced by CLUSTAL W. Furthermore, the accuracy of the C-SCI on CLUSTAL W alignments is comparable with that of the original SCI on structural alignments generated with RAF for which 4.7-fold expensive computational time is required on average.

Pac. Symp. Biocomput. 2010, p. 88-97