Toward a classification of isodynamic feed-forward motifs

Dewey T. Taylor
John W. Cain, University of Richmond
Danail G. Bonchev
Stephen S. Fong
Advait A. Apte
Lauren E. Pace


A preceding study analysed how the topology of network motifs affects the overall rate of the underlying biochemical processes. Surprisingly, it was shown that topologically non-isomorphic motifs can still be isodynamic in the sense that they exhibit the exact same performance rate. Because of the high prevalence of feed-forward functional modules in biological networks, one may hypothesize that evolution tends to favour motifs with faster dynamics. As a step towards ranking the efficiency of feed-forward network motifs, we use a linear flow model to prove theorems establishing that certain classes of motifs are isodynamic. In partitioning the class of all motifs on n nodes into equivalence classes based upon their dynamics, we establish a basis for comparing the efficiency/performance rates of different motifs. The potential biological importance of the theorems is briefly discussed and is the subject of an ongoing large-scale project.