Signal Transduction

Taking control of networks

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Science  16 Apr 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6539, pp. 251-252
DOI: 10.1126/science.372.6539.251-e

Cell-regulatory signaling pathways can be mapped as binary interaction graphs and Boolean networks. Disruption of such networks might be translatable into cancer therapies, for instance, but it is difficult to predict the best ways to do this. Part of the problem may be the redundancy of causal connections in networks, which likely buffers critical circuits to unintended perturbations but makes intended adjustments harder to define. Gates et al. propose a method to define the “effective graph” for interventions that can switch a system into a more desirable state. The method showed promise in analyzing complex networks controlling flower development and in a breast cancer model. Further testing in other biological systems will determine whether this difficult problem might yield to an effective graph method.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 118, e2022598118 (2021).

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