Mutational Robustness of Gene Regulatory Networks

A.D.J. van Dijk, S. van Mourik, R.C.H.J. van Ham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Mutational robustness of gene regulatory networks refers to their ability to generate constant biological output upon mutations that change network structure. Such networks contain regulatory interactions (transcription factor – target gene interactions) but often also protein-protein interactions between transcription factors. Using computational modeling, we study factors that influence robustness and we infer several network properties governing it. These include the type of mutation, i.e. whether a regulatory interaction or a protein-protein interaction is mutated, and in the case of mutation of a regulatory interaction, the sign of the interaction (activating vs. repressive). In addition, we analyze the effect of combinations of mutations and we compare networks containing monomeric with those containing dimeric transcription factors. Our results are consistent with available data on biological networks, for example based on evolutionary conservation of network features. As a novel and remarkable property, we predict that networks are more robust against mutations in monomer than in dimer transcription factors, a prediction for which analysis of conservation of DNA binding residues in monomeric vs. dimeric transcription factors provides indirect evidence
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere30591
Number of pages9
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • transcription factor-binding
  • chip-seq
  • expression
  • evolution
  • evolvability
  • noise
  • yeast
  • autoregulation
  • dimerization
  • mechanisms


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