Evolutionary models for formation of network motifs and modularity in the Saccharomyces transcription factor network

Jonathan James Ward, Janet M. Thornton
2005 PLoS Computational Biology  
Many natural and artificial networks contain overrepresented subgraphs, which have been termed network motifs. In this article, we investigate the processes that led to the formation of the two most common network motifs in eukaryote transcription factor networks: the bi-fan motif and the feed-forward loop. Around 100 million y ago, the common ancestor of the Saccharomyces clade underwent a whole-genome duplication event. The simultaneous duplication of the genes created by this event enabled
more » ... his event enabled the origin of many network motifs to be established. The data suggest that there are two primary mechanisms that are involved in motif formation. The first mechanism, enabled by the substantial plasticity in promoter regions, is rewiring of connections as a result of positive environmental selection. The second is duplication of transcription factors, which is also shown to be involved in the formation of intermediatescale network modularity. These two evolutionary processes are complementary, with the pre-existence of network motifs enabling duplicated transcription factors to bind different targets despite structural constraints on their DNAbinding specificities. This process may facilitate the creation of novel expression states and the increases in regulatory complexity associated with higher eukaryotes. Citation: Ward JJ, Thornton JM (2007) Evolutionary models for formation of network motifs and modularity in the Saccharomyces transcription factor network. PLoS Comput Biol 3(10): e198.
doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.0030198.eor fatcat:ouqtdxposfdh3h5i3aw3hfapiy