Network inference from perturbation time course data

Deepraj Sarmah, Gregory R. Smith, Mehdi Bouhaddou, Alan D. Stern, James Erskine, Marc R. Birtwistle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Networks underlie much of biology from subcellular to ecological scales. Yet, understanding what experimental data are needed and how to use them for unambiguously identifying the structure of even small networks remains a broad challenge. Here, we integrate a dynamic least squares framework into established modular response analysis (DL-MRA), that specifies sufficient experimental perturbation time course data to robustly infer arbitrary two and three node networks. DL-MRA considers important network properties that current methods often struggle to capture: (i) edge sign and directionality; (ii) cycles with feedback or feedforward loops including self-regulation; (iii) dynamic network behavior; (iv) edges external to the network; and (v) robust performance with experimental noise. We evaluate the performance of and the extent to which the approach applies to cell state transition networks, intracellular signaling networks, and gene regulatory networks. Although signaling networks are often an application of network reconstruction methods, the results suggest that only under quite restricted conditions can they be robustly inferred. For gene regulatory networks, the results suggest that incomplete knockdown is often more informative than full knockout perturbation, which may change experimental strategies for gene regulatory network reconstruction. Overall, the results give a rational basis to experimental data requirements for network reconstruction and can be applied to any such problem where perturbation time course experiments are possible.

Original languageEnglish
Article number42
Journalnpj Systems Biology and Applications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Network inference from perturbation time course data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this