Mapping Network Motif Tunability and Robustness in the Design of Synthetic Signaling Circuits
Nakhleh, Luay K.
Ram, Prahlad T.
Cellular networks are highly dynamic in their function, yet evolutionarily conserved in their core network motifs or topologies. Understanding functional tunability and robustness of network motifs to small perturbations in function and structure is vital to our ability to synthesize controllable circuits. In establishing core sets of network motifs, we selected topologies that are overrepresented in mammalian networks, including the linear, feedback, feed-forward, and bifan circuits. Static and dynamic tunability of network motifs were defined as the motif ability to respectively attain steady-state or transient outputs in response to pre-defined input stimuli. Detailed computational analysis suggested that static tunability is insensitive to the circuit topology, since all of the motifs displayed similar ability to attain predefined steady state outputs in response to constant inputs. Dynamic tunability, in contrast, was tightly dependent on circuit topology, with some motifs performing superiorly in achieving observed time-course outputs. Finally, we mapped dynamic tenability onto motif topologies to determine robustness of motif structures to changes in topology and identify design principles for the rational assembly of robust synthetic networks.