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Disentangling age-dependent DNA methylation: deterministic, stochastic, and nonlinear

Vershinina, O; Bacalini, MG; Zaikin, A; Franceschi, C; Ivanchenko, M; (2021) Disentangling age-dependent DNA methylation: deterministic, stochastic, and nonlinear. Scientific Reports , 11 , Article 9201. 10.1038/s41598-021-88504-0. Green open access

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Abstract

DNA methylation variability arises due to concurrent genetic and environmental influences. Each of them is a mixture of regular and noisy sources, whose relative contribution has not been satisfactorily understood yet. We conduct a systematic assessment of the age-dependent methylation by the signal-to-noise ratio and identify a wealth of "deterministic" CpG probes (about 90%), whose methylation variability likely originates due to genetic and general environmental factors. The remaining 10% of "stochastic" CpG probes are arguably governed by the biological noise or incidental environmental factors. Investigating the mathematical functional relationship between methylation levels and variability, we find that in about 90% of the age-associated differentially methylated positions, the variability changes as the square of the methylation level, whereas in the most of the remaining cases the dependence is linear. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the methylation level itself in more than 15% cases varies nonlinearly with age (according to the power law), in contrast to the previously assumed linear changes. Our findings present ample evidence of the ubiquity of strong DNA methylation regulation, resulting in the individual age-dependent and nonlinear methylation trajectories, whose divergence explains the cross-sectional variability. It may also serve a basis for constructing novel nonlinear epigenetic clocks.

Type: Article
Title: Disentangling age-dependent DNA methylation: deterministic, stochastic, and nonlinear
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-88504-0
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-88504-0
Language: English
Additional information: Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Computational biology and bioinformatics, Systems biology
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL EGA Institute for Womens Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL EGA Institute for Womens Health > Womens Cancer
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10127669
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