Encyclopedia of Systems Biology

2013 Edition
| Editors: Werner Dubitzky, Olaf Wolkenhauer, Kwang-Hyun Cho, Hiroki Yokota

Network Motifs of Gene Regulatory Networks

  • Guangxu JinEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-9863-7_459



In the gene regulatory network of Escherichia coli and yeast, network motifs refer to those regulatory interacting patterns that occur in original networks at numbers that are significantly higher than those in randomized networks (Milo et al. 2002; Shen-Orr et al. 2002; Alon 2007). These network motifs are responsible for diverse functions and behaviors of E. coli and yeast. They comprise  feed forward loop (FFL),  single-input module motif, SIM, and  dense overlapping regulons (DOR).


Network Motif Structure

A network motif of a regulatory network is composed of nodes and regulations that connect the nodes. It defines the interacting patterns that are preferred by the gene regulatory network. Many genes in the regulatory network are organized by the preferred regulatory patterns. For example, a network motif may be\(\; A \to B \to C \)

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Alon U (2007) Network motifs: theory and experimental approaches. Nat Rev Genet 8:450–461PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Milo R, Shen-Orr S, Itzkovitz S, Kashtan N, Chklovskii D, Alon U (2002) Network motifs: simple building blocks of complex networks. Science 298:824–827PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Shen-Orr SS, Milo R, Mangan S, Alon U (2002) Network motifs in the transcriptional regulation network of Escherichia coli. Nat Genet 31:64–68PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Systems Medicine and Bioengineering, Bioengineering and Bioinformatics Program, The Methodist Hospital Research InstituteWeill Medical College, Cornell UniversityHoustonUSA