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

Tieri P, Grignolio A, Zaikin A, Mishto M, Remondini D, Castellani GC, Franceschi C - Theor Biol Med Model (2010)

Bottom Line: 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'.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Interdept, Center Luigi Galvani for Bioinformatics, Biophysics and Biocomplexity (CIG), University of Bologna, Via F, Selmi 3, 40126 Bologna, Italy. p.tieri@unibo.it

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.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Schematic representation of a general bow tie architecture. Input signals conveyed through the fan in (left) are widely diversified. The capacity to admit this variability confers flexibility and robustness on the system. Then, in the core, inputs (and information complexity) are 'compressed' by relatively rigid rules and protocols, and processed into basic modular building blocks. In the core, critical decisions about the sorting and the fate of the system outputs are taken. Finally, again through protocols, a variety of elaborated output fans out, and the complexity of the original, uncompressed information is restored. Output → input feedback loops may also occur.
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Figure 1: Schematic representation of a general bow tie architecture. Input signals conveyed through the fan in (left) are widely diversified. The capacity to admit this variability confers flexibility and robustness on the system. Then, in the core, inputs (and information complexity) are 'compressed' by relatively rigid rules and protocols, and processed into basic modular building blocks. In the core, critical decisions about the sorting and the fate of the system outputs are taken. Finally, again through protocols, a variety of elaborated output fans out, and the complexity of the original, uncompressed information is restored. Output → input feedback loops may also occur.

Mentions: The "bow tie" architecture (so called for its shape; Figure 1) is a recent concept that tries to grasp the operational and functional architecture of complex and self-organized systems, including organisms. In the most general terms, bow tie architectures refer to ordered and recurrent control system structures that underlie complex technological or biological networks and are capable of conferring a balance among efficiency, robustness and evolvability. Conversely, it has been argued that the bow tie structure shows critical weak points [5], which could explain the concomitant characteristic of biological systems, i.e. their fragility towards specific evolved agents [13].


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

Tieri P, Grignolio A, Zaikin A, Mishto M, Remondini D, Castellani GC, Franceschi C - Theor Biol Med Model (2010)

Schematic representation of a general bow tie architecture. Input signals conveyed through the fan in (left) are widely diversified. The capacity to admit this variability confers flexibility and robustness on the system. Then, in the core, inputs (and information complexity) are 'compressed' by relatively rigid rules and protocols, and processed into basic modular building blocks. In the core, critical decisions about the sorting and the fate of the system outputs are taken. Finally, again through protocols, a variety of elaborated output fans out, and the complexity of the original, uncompressed information is restored. Output → input feedback loops may also occur.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2927512&req=5

Figure 1: Schematic representation of a general bow tie architecture. Input signals conveyed through the fan in (left) are widely diversified. The capacity to admit this variability confers flexibility and robustness on the system. Then, in the core, inputs (and information complexity) are 'compressed' by relatively rigid rules and protocols, and processed into basic modular building blocks. In the core, critical decisions about the sorting and the fate of the system outputs are taken. Finally, again through protocols, a variety of elaborated output fans out, and the complexity of the original, uncompressed information is restored. Output → input feedback loops may also occur.
Mentions: The "bow tie" architecture (so called for its shape; Figure 1) is a recent concept that tries to grasp the operational and functional architecture of complex and self-organized systems, including organisms. In the most general terms, bow tie architectures refer to ordered and recurrent control system structures that underlie complex technological or biological networks and are capable of conferring a balance among efficiency, robustness and evolvability. Conversely, it has been argued that the bow tie structure shows critical weak points [5], which could explain the concomitant characteristic of biological systems, i.e. their fragility towards specific evolved agents [13].

Bottom Line: 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'.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Interdept, Center Luigi Galvani for Bioinformatics, Biophysics and Biocomplexity (CIG), University of Bologna, Via F, Selmi 3, 40126 Bologna, Italy. p.tieri@unibo.it

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.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus