Structure versus function: a topological perspective on immune networks
 Emma Hart,
 Hugues Bersini,
 Francisco Santos
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Many recent advances have been made in understanding the functional implications of the global topological properties of biological networks through the application of complex network theory, particularly in the area of smallworld and scalefree topologies. Computational studies which attempt to understand the structure–function relationship usually proceed by defining a representation of cells and an affinity measure to describe their interactions. We show that this necessarily restricts the topology of the networks that can arise—furthermore, we show that although simple topologies can be produced via representation and affinity measures common in the literature, it is unclear how to select measures which result in complex topologies, for example, exhibiting scalefree functionality. In this paper, we introduce the concept of the potential network as a method in which abstract network topologies can be directly studied, bypassing any definition of shapespace and affinity function. We illustrate the benefit of the approach by studying the evolution of idiotypic networks on a selection of scalefree and regular topologies, finding that a key immunological property—tolerance—is promoted by bipartite and heterogeneous topologies. The approach, however, is applicable to the study of any network and thus has implications for both immunology and artificial immune systems.
 Title
 Structure versus function: a topological perspective on immune networks
 Journal

Natural Computing
Volume 9, Issue 3 , pp 603624
 Cover Date
 201009
 DOI
 10.1007/s1104700991388
 Print ISSN
 15677818
 Online ISSN
 15729796
 Publisher
 Springer Netherlands
 Additional Links
 Topics
 Keywords

 Topology
 Complex networks
 Artificial immune systems
 Tolerance
 Authors

 Emma Hart ^{(1)}
 Hugues Bersini ^{(2)}
 Francisco Santos ^{(2)}
 Author Affiliations

 1. Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
 2. IRIDIA, Universite de Bruxelles, Bruxelles, Belgium