Recurrent design patterns in the feedback regulation of the mammalian signalling network

Mol Syst Biol. 2008:4:190. doi: 10.1038/msb.2008.29. Epub 2008 May 6.


Biochemical networks are characterized by recurrent patterns and motifs, but the design principles underlying the dynamics of the mammalian intracellular signalling network remain unclear. We systematically analysed decay rates of 134 signalling proteins and investigated their gene expression profiles in response to stimulation to get insights into transcriptional feedback regulation. We found a clear separation of the signalling pathways into flexible and static parts: for each pathway a subgroup of unstable signal inhibitors is transcriptionally induced upon stimulation, while the other constitutively expressed signalling proteins are long-lived. Kinetic modelling suggests that this design principle allows for swift feedback regulation and establishes latency phases after signalling, and that it might be an optimal design due to a trade-off between energy efficiency and flexibility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Feedback, Physiological*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Half-Life
  • Kinetics
  • Mammals / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*


  • RNA, Messenger