A Phylogeny-Regularized Sparse Regression Model for Predictive Modeling of Microbial Community Data

Jian Xiao, Li Chen, Yue Yu, Xianyang Zhang, Jun Chen
2018 Frontiers in Microbiology  
Fueled by technological advancement, there has been a surge of human microbiome studies surveying the microbial communities associated with the human body and their links with health and disease. As a complement to the human genome, the human microbiome holds great potential for precision medicine. Efficient predictive models based on microbiome data could be potentially used in various clinical applications such as disease diagnosis, patient stratification and drug response prediction. One
more » ... rtant characteristic of the microbial community data is the phylogenetic tree that relates all the microbial taxa based on their evolutionary history. The phylogenetic tree is an informative prior for more efficient prediction since the microbial community changes are usually not randomly distributed on the tree but tend to occur in clades at varying phylogenetic depths (clustered signal). Although community-wide changes are possible for some conditions, it is also likely that the community changes are only associated with a small subset of "marker" taxa (sparse signal). Unfortunately, predictive models of microbial community data taking into account both the sparsity and the tree structure remain under-developed. In this paper, we propose a predictive framework to exploit sparse and clustered microbiome signals using a phylogeny-regularized sparse regression model. Our approach is motivated by evolutionary theory, where a natural correlation structure among microbial taxa exists according to the phylogenetic relationship. A novel phylogeny-based smoothness penalty is proposed to smooth the coefficients of the microbial taxa with respect to the phylogenetic tree. Using simulated and real datasets, we show that our method achieves better prediction performance than competing sparse regression methods for sparse and clustered microbiome signals.
doi:10.3389/fmicb.2018.03112 pmid:30619188 pmcid:PMC6305753 fatcat:vt4ljparhvenbkjtjlx7xzbmwe