The effective deficiency of biochemical networks

Sci Rep. 2023 Sep 4;13(1):14589. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-41767-1.


The deficiency of a (bio)chemical reaction network can be conceptually interpreted as a measure of its ability to support exotic dynamical behavior and/or multistationarity. The classical definition of deficiency relates to the capacity of a network to permit variations of the complex formation rate vector at steady state, irrespective of the network kinetics. However, the deficiency is by definition completely insensitive to the fine details of the directionality of reactions as well as bounds on reaction fluxes. While the classical definition of deficiency can be readily applied in the analysis of unconstrained, weakly reversible networks, it only provides an upper bound in the cases where relevant constraints on reaction fluxes are imposed. Here we propose the concept of effective deficiency, which provides a more accurate assessment of the network's capacity to permit steady state variations at the complex level for constrained networks of any reversibility patterns. The effective deficiency relies on the concept of nonstoichiometric balanced complexes, which we have already shown to be present in real-world biochemical networks operating under flux constraints. Our results demonstrate that the effective deficiency of real-world biochemical networks is smaller than the classical deficiency, indicating the effects of reaction directionality and flux bounds on the variation of the complex formation rate vector at steady state.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Kinetics
  • Physics*