Network, degeneracy and bow tie integrating paradigms and architectures to grasp the complexity of the immune system

Paolo Tieri, Andrea Grignolio, Alexey Zaikin, Michele Mishto, Daniel Remondini, Gastone C. Castellani, Claudio Franceschi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recently, the network paradigm, an application of graph theory to biology, has proven to be a powerful approach to gaining insights into biological complexity, and has catalyzed the advancement of systems biology. In this perspective and focusing on the immune system, we propose here a more comprehensive view to go beyond the concept of network. We start from the concept of degeneracy, one of the most prominent characteristic of biological complexity, defined as the ability of structurally different elements to perform the same function, and we show that degeneracy is highly intertwined with another recently-proposed organizational principle, i.e. 'bow tie architecture'. The simultaneous consideration of concepts such as degeneracy, bow tie architecture and network results in a powerful new interpretative tool that takes into account the constructive role of noise (stochastic fluctuations) and is able to grasp the major characteristics of biological complexity, i.e. the capacity to turn an apparently chaotic and highly dynamic set of signals into functional information.

Original languageEnglish
Article number32
JournalTheoretical Biology and Medical Modelling
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Medicine(all)

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