The Robustness/Sensitivity Paradox: An Essay on the Importance of Phase Separation
Considering biological systems at different levels of organization as complex networks in which nodes (genes, proteins, metabolites…) are each other connected by (co-expression, physical interactions) is a very natural way of reasoning. Network approach allows scientist to make sense of the intricacies of biological regulation and, for the same mathematical nature of graphs, to obtain a multilevel description linking single node and whole network topological features. This paradigm allows for the detection of a clear signature of robustness: the ability of a system to keep separate different scales of response to environmental stimuli. A case study on the immune system allows for an immediate appreciation of this point.
KeywordsSelf-organization Gene expression regulation Networks Systems biology Innate immunity
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