New scaling relation for information transfer in biological networks

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23 Scopus citations


We quantify characteristics of the informational architecture of two representative biological networks: the Boolean network model for the cell-cycle regulatory network of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe (Davidich et al. 2008 PLoS ONE 3, e1672 (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001672)) and that of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae (Li et al. 2004 Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 101, 4781â€"4786 (doi:10.1073/pnas.0305937101)). We compare our results for these biological networks with the same analysis performed on ensembles of two different types of random networks: Erdösâ€"ReÂnyi and scale-free. We show that both biological networks share features in common that are not shared by either random network ensemble. In particular, the biological networks in our study process more information than the random networks on average. Both biological networks also exhibit a scaling relation in information transferred between nodes that distinguishes them from random, where the biological networks stand out as distinct even when compared with random networks that share important topological properties, such as degree distribution, with the biological network. We show that the most biologically distinct regime of this scaling relation is associated with a subset of control nodes that regulate the dynamics and function of each respective biological network. Information processing in biological networks is therefore interpreted as an emergent property of topology (causal structure) and dynamics ( function). Our results demonstrate quantitatively how the informational architecture of biologically evolved networks can distinguish them from other classes of network architecture that do not share the same informational properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20150944
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number113
StatePublished - Dec 6 2015


  • Biological function
  • Biological networks
  • Information transfer
  • Origin of life
  • Yeast cell cycle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering


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