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PLoS Biol. 2005 Nov;3(11):e343. Epub 2005 Oct 4.

Dynamic properties of network motifs contribute to biological network organization.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


Biological networks, such as those describing gene regulation, signal transduction, and neural synapses, are representations of large-scale dynamic systems. Discovery of organizing principles of biological networks can be enhanced by embracing the notion that there is a deep interplay between network structure and system dynamics. Recently, many structural characteristics of these non-random networks have been identified, but dynamical implications of the features have not been explored comprehensively. We demonstrate by exhaustive computational analysis that a dynamical property--stability or robustness to small perturbations--is highly correlated with the relative abundance of small subnetworks (network motifs) in several previously determined biological networks. We propose that robust dynamical stability is an influential property that can determine the non-random structure of biological networks.

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