No tradeoff between versatility and robustness in gene circuit motifs

Unknown, Article English OPEN
Payne, Joshua L (2016)

Circuit motifs are small directed subgraphs that appear in real world networks significantly more often than in randomized networks. In the Boolean model of gene circuits most motifs are realized by multiple circuit genotypes. Each of a motif’s constituent circuit genotypes may have one or more functions which are embodied in the expression patterns the circuit forms in response to specific initial conditions. Recent enumeration of a space of nearly 17 million three gene circuit genotypes revealed that all circuit motifs have more than one function with the number of functions per motif ranging from 12 to nearly 30000. This indicates that some motifs are more functionally versatile than others. However the individual circuit genotypes that constitute each motif are less robust to mutation if they have many functions hinting that functionally versatile motifs may be less robust to mutation than motifs with few functions. Here I explore the relationship between versatility and robustness in circuit motifs demonstrating that functionally versatile motifs are robust to mutation despite the inherent tradeoff between versatility and robustness at the level of an individual circuit genotype.