A Deep Learning Model for Accurate Diagnosis of Infection Using Antibody Repertoires

J Immunol. 2022 May 23;ji2200063. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.2200063. Online ahead of print.


The adaptive immune receptor repertoire consists of the entire set of an individual's BCRs and TCRs and is believed to contain a record of prior immune responses and the potential for future immunity. Analyses of TCR repertoires via deep learning (DL) methods have successfully diagnosed cancers and infectious diseases, including coronavirus disease 2019. However, few studies have used DL to analyze BCR repertoires. In this study, we collected IgG H chain Ab repertoires from 276 healthy control subjects and 326 patients with various infections. We then extracted a comprehensive feature set consisting of 10 subsets of repertoire-level features and 160 sequence-level features and tested whether these features can distinguish between infected individuals and healthy control subjects. Finally, we developed an ensemble DL model, namely, DL method for infection diagnosis (https://github.com/chenyuan0510/DeepID), and used this model to differentiate between the infected and healthy individuals. Four subsets of repertoire-level features and four sequence-level features were selected because of their excellent predictive performance. The DL method for infection diagnosis outperformed traditional machine learning methods in distinguishing between healthy and infected samples (area under the curve = 0.9883) and achieved a multiclassification accuracy of 0.9104. We also observed differences between the healthy and infected groups in V genes usage, clonal expansion, the complexity of reads within clone, the physical properties in the α region, and the local flexibility of the CDR3 amino acid sequence. Our results suggest that the Ab repertoire is a promising biomarker for the diagnosis of various infections.