RNAsnoop: Efficient target prediction for H/ACA snoRNAs
Motivation: Small nucleolar RNAs are an abundant class of non-coding RNAs that guide chemical modifications of rRNAs, snRNAs and some mRNAs. In the case of many 'orphan' snoRNAs, the targeted nucleotides remain unknown, however. The box H/ACA subclass determines uridine residues that are to be converted into pseudouridines via specific complementary binding in a well-defined secondary structure configuration that is outside the scope of common RNA (co-)folding algorithms. Results: RNAsnoop implements a dynamic programming algorithm that computes thermodynamically optimal H/ACA-RNA interactions in an efficient scanning variant. Complemented by an support vector machine (SVM)-based machine learning approach to distinguish true binding sites from spurious solutions and a system to evaluate comparative information, it presents an efficient and reliable tool for the prediction of H/ACA snoRNA target sites. We apply RNAsnoop to identify the snoRNAs that are responsible for several of the remaining 'orphan' pseudouridine modifications in human rRNAs, and we assign a target to one of the five orphan H/ACA snoRNAs in Drosophila.