The Impact of Retroactivity on the Behavior of Biomolecular Systems

A Review of Recent Results
Chapter

Abstract

Modularity is a powerful property for analyzing the behavior of a system on the basis of the behavior of its components. According to this property, any two components maintain their behavior unchanged upon interconnection. Is modularity a natural property of biomolecular networks? In this review, we summarize recent theoretical and experimental results that demonstrate that the answer to this question is negative. Just as in many electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic systems, impedance-like effects, called retroactivity, arise at the interconnection of biomolecular systems and alter the behavior of connected components. Here, we illustrate the effects of retroactivity on the static characteristics and on the dynamic input/output response of biomolecular systems by employing a mixture of control theoretic tools, mathematical biology, and experimental techniques on reconstituted systems.

Keywords

Modularity Retroactivity Insulation Transcriptional networks  Signaling cascades. 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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