Gene Networks

N.A. Kolchanov, E.A. Anan'ko, F.A. Kolpakov, O.A. Podkolodnaya, E.V. Ignat'eva, T.N. Goryachkovskaya, and I.L. Stepanenko

Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Siberian Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk, 630090 Russia; E-mail:

Molecular Biology (Msk.), 2000. V. 34. No. 4. P. 449-460.

Gene network is a group of genes functioning in a coordinated manner to control vital processes in an organism. Each gene network includes several essential components:

To accumulate the information on gene networks, a database GeneNet has been developed. At present, GeneNet contains the data on 16 gene networks which are arranged in six sections according to the subject concerned: lipid metabolism, steroidogenesis, erythropoiesis, antiviral response, plant seed development, and heat shock. Analysis of the data accumulated in GeneNet revealed the following principles of the gene network organization:

  1. there is a great variety of molecular mechanisms which provide for a feedback regulation;
  2. each gene network includes key genes which coordinate the function of other genes in the gene network;
  3. one transcription factor activates many genes via a cassette mechanism;
  4. gene networks are autoregulated via regulatory circuits with positive and negative feedback.

Key words: genes, expression regulation, gene networks, databases, signal transduction pathways