Protein-assisted RNA fragment docking (RnaX) for modeling RNA-protein interactions using ModelX.

TitleProtein-assisted RNA fragment docking (RnaX) for modeling RNA-protein interactions using ModelX.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsBlanco JDelgado, Radusky LG, Cianferoni D, Serrano L
JournalProc Natl Acad Sci U S A
Date Published2019 Nov 15

RNA-protein interactions are crucial for such key biological processes as regulation of transcription, splicing, translation, and gene silencing, among many others. Knowing where an RNA molecule interacts with a target protein and/or engineering an RNA molecule to specifically bind to a protein could allow for rational interference with these cellular processes and the design of novel therapies. Here we present a robust RNA-protein fragment pair-based method, termed RnaX, to predict RNA-binding sites. This methodology, which is integrated into the ModelX tool suite (, takes advantage of the structural information present in all released RNA-protein complexes. This information is used to create an exhaustive database for docking and a statistical forcefield for fast discrimination of true backbone-compatible interactions. RnaX, together with the protein design forcefield FoldX, enables us to predict RNA-protein interfaces and, when sufficient crystallographic information is available, to reengineer the interface at the sequence-specificity level by mimicking those conformational changes that occur on protein and RNA mutagenesis. These results, obtained at just a fraction of the computational cost of methods that simulate conformational dynamics, open up perspectives for the engineering of RNA-protein interfaces.

Alternate JournalProc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PubMed ID31732673