Multiple weak hits confuse complex systems: A transcriptional regulatory network as an example

Vilmos Agoston, Péter Csermely, Sándor Pongor

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90 Citations (Scopus)


Robust systems, like the molecular networks of living cells, are often resistant to single hits such as those caused by high-specificity drugs. Here we show that partial weakening of the Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae transcriptional regulatory networks at a small number (3-5) of selected nodes can have a greater impact than the complete elimination of a single selected node. In both cases, the targeted nodes have the greatest possible impact; still, the results suggest that in some cases broader specificity compounds or multitarget drug therapies may be more effective than individual high-affinity, high-specificity ones. Multiple but partial attacks mimic well a number of in vivo scenarios and may be useful in the efficient modification of other complex systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number051909
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2005


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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