The relationship between modularity and robustness in signalling networks.

Journal of the Royal Society, Interface / the Royal Society

PubMedID: 24047877

Tran TD, Kwon YK. The relationship between modularity and robustness in signalling networks. J R Soc Interface. 2013;10(88):20130771.
Many biological networks tend to have a high modularity structural property and the dynamic characteristic of high robustness against perturbations. However, the relationship between modularity and robustness is not well understood. To investigate this relationship, we examined real signalling networks and conducted simulations using a random Boolean network model. As a result, we first observed that the network robustness is negatively correlated with the network modularity. In particular, this negative correlation becomes more apparent as the network density becomes sparser. Even more interesting is that, the negative relationship between the network robustness and the network modularity occurs mainly because nodes in the same module with the perturbed node tend to be more sensitive to the perturbation than those in other modules. This result implies that dynamically similar nodes tend to be located in the same module of a network. To support this, we show that a pair of genes associated with the same disease or a pair of functionally similar genes is likely to belong to the same module in a human signalling network.