Identification of an epigenetic signature in human induced pluripotent stem cells using a linear machine learning model

Hum Cell. 2021 Jan;34(1):99-110. doi: 10.1007/s13577-020-00446-3. Epub 2020 Oct 12.


The use of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), used as an alternative to human embryonic stem cells (ESCs), is a potential solution to challenges, such as immune rejection, and does not involve the ethical issues concerning the use of ESCs in regenerative medicine, thereby enabling developments in biological research. However, comparative analyses from previous studies have not indicated any specific feature that distinguishes iPSCs from ESCs. Therefore, in this study, we established a linear classification-based learning model to distinguish among ESCs, iPSCs, embryonal carcinoma cells (ECCs), and somatic cells on the basis of their DNA methylation profiles. The highest accuracy achieved by the learned models in identifying the cell type was 94.23%. In addition, the epigenetic signature of iPSCs, which is distinct from that of ESCs, was identified by component analysis of the learned models. The iPSC-specific regions with methylation fluctuations were abundant on chromosomes 7, 8, 12, and 22. The method developed in this study can be utilized with comprehensive data and widely applied to many aspects of molecular biology research.

Keywords: DNA methylation; Epigenetic signature of hiPSCs; Human ESCs; Human iPSCs; Machine learning.