Protein domain networks: analysis of attack tolerance under varied circumstances

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2010
Oğuz, Şaziye Deniz
Recently, there has been much interest in the resilience of complex networks to random failures and intentional attacks. The study of the network robustness is particularly important by several occasions. In one hand a higher degree of robustness to errors and attacks may be desired for maintaining the information flow in communication networks under attacks. On the other hand planning a very limited attack aimed at fragmenting a network by removal of minimum number of the most important nodes might have significant usage in drug design. Many real world networks were found to display scale free topology including WWW, the internet, social networks or regulatory gene and protein networks. In the recent studies it was shown that while these networks have a surprising error tolerance, their scale-free topology makes them fragile under intentional attack, leaving the scientists a challenge on how to improve the networks robustness against attacks. In this thesis, we studied the protein domain co-occurrence network of yeast which displays scale free topology generated with data from Biomart which links to Pfam database. Several networks obtained from protein domain co-occurrence network having exactly the same connectivity distribution were compared under attacks to investigate the assumption that the different networks with the same connectivity distribution do not need to have the same attack tolerances. In addition to this, we considered that the networks with the same connectivity distribution have higher attack tolerance as we organize the same resources in a better way. Then, we checked for the variations of attack tolerance of the networks with the same connectiviy distributions. Furthermore, we investigated whether there is an evolutionary mechanism for having networks with higher or lower attack tolerances for the same connectivity distribution. As a result of these investigations, the different networks with the same connectivity distribution do not have the same attack tolerances under attack. In addition to this, it was observed that the networks with the same connectivity distribution have higher attack tolerances as organizing the same resources in a better way which implies that there is an evolutionary mechanism for having networks with higher attack tolerance for the same connectivity distribution.