A Topological Classification of RNA Folds

Thursday, November 1, 2007 - 4:20pm - 4:50pm
EE/CS 3-180
Henri Orland (Commissariat à l'Énergie Atomique (CEA))
After reviewing some elementary properties of RNA, we show how the RNA
folding problem can be formulated exactly in terms of an NxN matrix
field theory. This formulation introduces a classification of RNA structures
according to their topological genus.
The large N limit of this theory generates the secondary structures of RNA
(planar graphs), whereas 1/N corrections are identified as pseudo-knots. We
show how the RNA structures can be analyzed in terms of primitive pseudo
knots of low genus and how this concept can be included in Monte Carlo
calculations to actually predict RNA folds.