Network Biology

Meeting the demands of a complex network

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Science  19 Dec 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6216, pp. 1477
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6216.1477-b

Cells face intense metabolic demands. Meeting these demands requires genes to interact in complex networks. But what happens to these networks when the participating genes acquire mutations? To find out, Bajić et al. computationally mapped how genes that regulate cellular metabolism interact in yeast lacking specific metabolic enzymes or in yeast that had accumulated neutral mutations (mutations that did not affect their overall fitness). Their model predicted that deleting specific genes would lead to alternative enzymatic reactions and rewired signaling pathways, depending on the degree of network connectivity. In the case of neutral mutations, their model suggested that network rewiring would occur along with a loss of plasticity. Experimental data supported these predictions.

Genome Biol. Evol. 10.1093/gbe/evu255 (2014).

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