Organization of feed-forward loop motifs reveals architectural principles in natural and engineered networks

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  28 Mar 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 3, eaap9751
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aap9751

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text


Network motifs are significantly overrepresented subgraphs that have been proposed as building blocks for natural and engineered networks. Detailed functional analysis has been performed for many types of motif in isolation, but less is known about how motifs work together to perform complex tasks. To address this issue, we measure the aggregation of network motifs via methods that extract precisely how these structures are connected. Applying this approach to a broad spectrum of networked systems and focusing on the widespread feed-forward loop motif, we uncover striking differences in motif organization. The types of connection are often highly constrained, differ between domains, and clearly capture architectural principles. We show how this information can be used to effectively predict functionally important nodes in the metabolic network of Escherichia coli. Our findings have implications for understanding how networked systems are constructed from motif parts and elucidate constraints that guide their evolution.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text