### Improved Model for Predicting the Free Energy Contribution of Dinucleotide Bulges to RNA Duplex Stability.

*Ontology highlight*

**ABSTRACT**: Predicting the secondary structure of RNA is an intermediate in predicting RNA three-dimensional structure. Commonly, determining RNA secondary structure from sequence uses free energy minimization and nearest neighbor parameters. Current algorithms utilize a sequence-independent model to predict free energy contributions of dinucleotide bulges. To determine if a sequence-dependent model would be more accurate, short RNA duplexes containing dinucleotide bulges with different sequences and nearest neighbor combinations were optically melted to derive thermodynamic parameters. These data suggested energy contributions of dinucleotide bulges were sequence-dependent, and a sequence-dependent model was derived. This model assigns free energy penalties based on the identity of nucleotides in the bulge (3.06 kcal/mol for two purines, 2.93 kcal/mol for two pyrimidines, 2.71 kcal/mol for 5'-purine-pyrimidine-3', and 2.41 kcal/mol for 5'-pyrimidine-purine-3'). The predictive model also includes a 0.45 kcal/mol penalty for an A-U pair adjacent to the bulge and a -0.28 kcal/mol bonus for a G-U pair adjacent to the bulge. The new sequence-dependent model results in predicted values within, on average, 0.17 kcal/mol of experimental values, a significant improvement over the sequence-independent model. This model and new experimental values can be incorporated into algorithms that predict RNA stability and secondary structure from sequence.

**SUBMITTER: **Tomcho JC

**PROVIDER: **S-EPMC5058784 | BioStudies | 2015-01-01

**REPOSITORIES: ** biostudies

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