Shape, size, and robustness: feasible regions in the parameter space of biochemical networks.
Dayarian A, Chaves M, Sontag ED, Sengupta AM
PLoS Comput Biol (2009) 5: e1000256.
Category: metabolism, systems biology ¤ Added: Jul 15, 2009 ¤ Rating: ◊◊
The concept of robustness of regulatory networks has received much attention in the last decade. One measure of robustness has been associated with the volume of the feasible region, namely, the region in the parameter space in which the system is functional. In this paper, we show that, in addition to volume, the geometry of this region has important consequences for the robustness and the fragility of a network. We develop an approximation within which we could algebraically specify the feasible region. We analyze the segment polarity gene network to illustrate our approach. The study of random walks in the parameter space and how they exit the feasible region provide us with a rich perspective on the different modes of failure of this network model. In particular, we found that, between two alternative ways of activating Wingless, one is more robust than the other. Our method provides a more complete measure of robustness to parameter variation. As a general modeling strategy, our approach is an interesting alternative to Boolean representation of biochemical networks.
Keywords: Algorithms / Computer Simulation / Feasibility Studies / Gene Expression Regulation / Metabolome / Models, Biological / Proteome / Signal Transduction