Graphical Conditions for Rate Independence in Chemical Reaction Networks


Chemical Reaction Networks (CRNs) provide a useful abstraction of molecular interaction networks in which molecular structures as well as mass conservation principles are abstracted away to focus on the main dynamical properties of the network structure. In their interpretation by ordinary differential equations, we say that a CRN with distinguished input and output species computes a positive real function $f : R+ → R+$, if for any initial concentration x of the input species, the concentration of the output molecular species stabilizes at concentration f (x). The Turing-completeness of that notion of chemical analog computation has been established by proving that any computable real function can be computed by a CRN over a finite set of molecular species. Rate-independent CRNs form a restricted class of CRNs of high practical value since they enjoy a form of absolute robustness in the sense that the result is completely independent of the reaction rates and depends solely on the input concentrations. The functions computed by rate-independent CRNs have been characterized mathematically as the set of piecewise linear functions from input species. However, this does not provide a mean to decide whether a given CRN is rate-independent. In this paper, we provide graphical conditions on the Petri Net structure of a CRN which entail the rate-independence property either for all species or for some output species. We show that in the curated part of the Biomodels repository, among the 590 reaction models tested, 2 reaction graphs were found to satisfy our rate-independence conditions for all species, 94 for some output species, among which 29 for some non-trivial output species. Our graphical conditions are based on a non-standard use of the Petri net notions of place-invariants and siphons which are computed by constraint programming techniques for efficiency reasons.

In CMSB 2020 - 18th International Conference on Computational Methods in Systems Biology