Feedback loops in biological networks

Methods Mol Biol. 2015;1244:193-214. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-1878-2_10.


We introduce fundamental concepts for the design of dynamics and feedback in molecular networks modeled with ordinary differential equations. We use several examples, focusing in particular on the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway, to illustrate the concept that feedback loops are fundamental in determining the overall dynamic behavior of a system. Often, these loops have a structural function and unequivocally define the system behavior. We conclude with numerical simulations highlighting the potential for bistability and oscillations of the MAPK pathway re-engineered through synthetic promoters and RNA transducers to include positive and negative feedback loops.

MeSH terms

  • Gene Regulatory Networks*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Models, Biological


  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases