A mathematical analysis of rna structural motifs in viruses

Alexander Churkin, Franziska Totzeck, Rami Zakh, Marina Parr, Tamir Tuller, Dmitrij Frishman, Danny Barash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


RNA stem-loop structures play an important role in almost every step of the viral replication cycle. In this contribution, a mathematical analysis is performed on a large dataset of RNA secondary structure elements in the coding regions of viruses by using topological indices that capture the Laplacian eigenvalues of the associated RNA graph representations and thereby enable structural classification, supplemented by folding energy and mutational robustness. The application of such an analysis for viral RNA structural motifs is described, being able to extract structural categories such as stem-loop structures of different sizes according to the tree-graph representation of the RNA structure, in our attempt to find novel functional motifs. While the analysis is carried on a large dataset of viral RNA structures, it can be applied more generally to other data that involve RNA secondary structures in biological agents.

Original languageEnglish
Article number585
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Folding energy
  • Laplacian eigenvalues
  • Mutational robustness
  • RNA graph representation
  • Topological indices


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