The availability of entire genome sequences and the wealth of literature on gene regulation have enabled researchers to model an organism's transcriptional regulation system in the form of a network. In such a network, TFs (transcription factors) and TGs (target genes) are represented as nodes and regulatory interactions between TFs and TGs are represented as directed links. In the present review, I address the following topics pertaining to transcriptional regulatory networks. (i) Structure and organization: first, I introduce the concept of networks and discuss our understanding of the structure and organization of transcriptional networks. (ii) Evolution: I then describe the different mechanisms and forces that influence network evolution and shape network structure. (iii) Dynamics: I discuss studies that have integrated information on dynamics such as mRNA abundance or half-life, with data on transcriptional network in order to elucidate general principles of regulatory network dynamics. In particular, I discuss how cell-to-cell variability in the expression level of TFs could permit differential utilization of the same underlying network by distinct members of a genetically identical cell population. Finally, I conclude by discussing open questions for future research and highlighting the implications for evolution, development, disease and applications such as genetic engineering.
Discussion| September 24 2010
Structure, evolution and dynamics of transcriptional regulatory networks
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M. Madan Babu; Structure, evolution and dynamics of transcriptional regulatory networks. Biochem Soc Trans 1 October 2010; 38 (5): 1155–1178. doi: https://doi.org/10.1042/BST0381155
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