Network motifs: theory and experimental approaches

Nat Rev Genet. 2007 Jun;8(6):450-61. doi: 10.1038/nrg2102.


Transcription regulation networks control the expression of genes. The transcription networks of well-studied microorganisms appear to be made up of a small set of recurring regulation patterns, called network motifs. The same network motifs have recently been found in diverse organisms from bacteria to humans, suggesting that they serve as basic building blocks of transcription networks. Here I review network motifs and their functions, with an emphasis on experimental studies. Network motifs in other biological networks are also mentioned, including signalling and neuronal networks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Biological Evolution
  • Fungi / genetics
  • Fungi / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Regulon / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Transcription Factors