1Institute for Theoretical Chemistry and 2Research group BCB, Faculty of Computer Science, University of Vienna, Währinger Straße 17, 1090 Vienna, Austria, 3Center for non-coding RNA in Technology and Health, University of Copenhagen, Grønnegårdsvej 3, 1870 Frederiksberg C, Denmark, 4Department of Computer Science & IZBI & iDiv & LIFE, Härtelstraße 16–18, D-04107 University of Leipzig, 5Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences and 6Fraunhofer Institute IZI, Leipzig, Germany, 7Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA and 8Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, University Of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
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Motivation:RNA folding is a complicated kinetic process. The minimum free energy structure provides only a static view of the most stable conformational state of the system. It is insufficient to give detailed insights into the dynamic behavior of RNAs. A sufficiently sophisticated analysis of the folding free energy landscape, however, can provide the relevant information.Results:We introduce the Basin Hopping Graph (BHG) as a novel coarse-grained model of folding landscapes. Each vertex of the BHG is a local minimum, which represents the corresponding basin in the landscape. Its edges connect basins when the direct transitions between them are ‘energetically favorable’. Edge weights endcode the corresponding saddle heights and thus measure the difficulties of these favorable transitions. BHGs can be approximated accurately and efficiently for RNA molecules well beyond the length range accessible to enumerative algorithms.Availability and implementation:The algorithms described here are implemented in C++ as standalone programs. Its source code and supplemental material can be freely downloaded from http://www.tbi.univie.ac.at/bhg.html.Contact:email@example.comSupplementary information:Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.