A systems-theoretic model of a biological circuit for molecular communication in nanonetworks

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22 Scopus citations


Recent advances in synthetic biology, in particular towards the engineering of DNA-based circuits, are providing tools to program man-designed functions within biological cells, thus paving the way for the realization of biological nanoscale devices, known as nanomachines. By stemming from the way biological cells communicate in the nature, Molecular Communication (MC), i.e., the exchange of information through the emission, propagation, and reception of molecules, has been identified as the key paradigm to interconnect these biological nanomachines into nanoscale networks, or nanonetwork. The design of MC nanonetworks built upon biological circuits is particularly interesting since cells possess many of the elements required to realize this type of communication, thus enabling the design of cooperative functions in the biological environment. In this paper, a systems-theoretic modeling is realized by analyzing a minimal subset of biological circuit elements necessary to be included in an MC nanonetwork design where the message-bearing molecules are propagated via free diffusion between two cells. The obtained system-theoretic models stem from the biochemical processes underlying cell-to-cell MC, and are analytically characterized by their transfer functions, attenuation and delay experienced by an information signal exchanged by the communicating cells. Numerical results are presented to evaluate the obtained analytical expressions as functions of realistic biological parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-34
Number of pages10
JournalNano Communication Networks
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Biological circuit
  • Biological nanomachine
  • Diffusion equation
  • Molecular communication
  • Nanonetworks
  • Synthetic biology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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