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RIBFIND2 - published in Nucleic Acids Research


Molecular structures are often fitted into cryo-EM maps by flexible fitting. When this requires large conformational changes, identifying rigid bodies can help optimize the model-map fit. Tools for identifying rigid bodies in protein structures exist, however an equivalent for nucleic acid structures is lacking. With the increase in cryo-EM maps containing RNA and progress in RNA structure prediction, there is a need for such tools. We previously developed RIBFIND, a program for clustering protein secondary structures into rigid bodies. In RIBFIND2, this approach is extended to nucleic acid structures. RIBFIND2 can identify biologically relevant rigid bodies in important groups of complex RNA structures, capturing a wide range of dynamics, including large rigid-body movements. The usefulness of RIBFIND2-assigned rigid bodies in cryo-EM model refinement was demonstrated on three examples, with two conformations each: Group II Intron complexed IEP, Internal Ribosome Entry Site and the Processome, using cryo-EM maps at 2.7–5 Å resolution. A hierarchical refinement approach, performed on progressively smaller sets of RIBFIND2 rigid bodies, was clearly shown to have an advantage over classical all-atom refinement. RIBFIND2 is available via a web server with structure visualization and as a standalone tool.

Graphical Abstract

Snapshot of the RIBFIND2 server.

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