Machine learning selected smoking-associated DNA methylation signatures that predict HIV prognosis and mortality.

Zhang X, Hu Y, Aouizerat BE, Peng G, Marconi VC, Corley MJ, Hulgan T, Bryant KJ, Zhao H, Krystal JH, Justice AC, Xu K
Clin Epigenetics. 2018 10 (1): 155

PMID: 30545403 · PMCID: PMC6293604 · DOI:10.1186/s13148-018-0591-z

BACKGROUND - The effects of tobacco smoking on epigenome-wide methylation signatures in white blood cells (WBCs) collected from persons living with HIV may have important implications for their immune-related outcomes, including frailty and mortality. The application of a machine learning approach to the analysis of CpG methylation in the epigenome enables the selection of phenotypically relevant features from high-dimensional data. Using this approach, we now report that a set of smoking-associated DNA-methylated CpGs predicts HIV prognosis and mortality in an HIV-positive veteran population.

RESULTS - We first identified 137 epigenome-wide significant CpGs for smoking in WBCs from 1137 HIV-positive individuals (p < 1.70E-07). To examine whether smoking-associated CpGs were predictive of HIV frailty and mortality, we applied ensemble-based machine learning to build a model in a training sample employing 408,583 CpGs. A set of 698 CpGs was selected and predictive of high HIV frailty in a testing sample [(area under curve (AUC) = 0.73, 95%CI 0.63~0.83)] and was replicated in an independent sample [(AUC = 0.78, 95%CI 0.73~0.83)]. We further found an association of a DNA methylation index constructed from the 698 CpGs that were associated with a 5-year survival rate [HR = 1.46; 95%CI 1.06~2.02, p = 0.02]. Interestingly, the 698 CpGs located on 445 genes were enriched on the integrin signaling pathway (p = 9.55E-05, false discovery rate = 0.036), which is responsible for the regulation of the cell cycle, differentiation, and adhesion.

CONCLUSION - We demonstrated that smoking-associated DNA methylation features in white blood cells predict HIV infection-related clinical outcomes in a population living with HIV.

MeSH Terms (16)

Adult CpG Islands DNA Methylation Epigenesis, Genetic Female Frailty Genome-Wide Association Study HIV Infections Humans Machine Learning Male Middle Aged Mortality Prognosis Signal Transduction Smoking

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