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Brief Bioinform. 2011 Nov;12(6):601-13. doi: 10.1093/bib/bbr050. Epub 2011 Sep 6.

RNA tertiary structure prediction with ModeRNA.

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Laboratory of Bioinformatics and Protein Engineering, International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw, ul. Ks. Trojdena 4, 02-109 Warsaw, Poland.


Noncoding RNAs perform important roles in the cell. As their function is tightly connected with structure, and as experimental methods are time-consuming and expensive, the field of RNA structure prediction is developing rapidly. Here, we present a detailed study on using the ModeRNA software. The tool uses the comparative modeling approach and can be applied when a structural template is available and an alignment of reasonable quality can be performed. We guide the reader through the entire process of modeling Escherichia coli tRNA(Thr) in a conformation corresponding to the complex with an aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase (aaRS). We describe the choice of a template structure, preparation of input files, and explore three possible modeling strategies. In the end, we evaluate the resulting models using six alternative benchmarks. The ModeRNA software can be freely downloaded from under the conditions of the General Public License. It runs under LINUX, Windows and Mac OS. It is also available as a server at The models and the script to reproduce the study from this article are available at

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