Bridging the transgenerational gap with epigenetic memory
TRENDS IN GENETICS
2013; 29 (3): 176-186
It is textbook knowledge that inheritance of traits is governed by genetics, and that the epigenetic modifications an organism acquires are largely reset between generations. Recently, however, transgenerational epigenetic inheritance has emerged as a rapidly growing field, providing evidence suggesting that some epigenetic changes result in persistent phenotypes across generations. Here, we survey some of the most recent examples of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in animals, ranging from Caenorhabditis elegans to humans, and describe approaches and limitations to studying this phenomenon. We also review the current body of evidence implicating chromatin modifications and RNA molecules in mechanisms underlying this unconventional mode of inheritance and discuss its evolutionary implications.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.tig.2012.12.008
View details for Web of Science ID 000316243500008
View details for PubMedID 23410786
Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance of longevity in Caenorhabditis elegans
2011; 479 (7373): 365-U204
Chromatin modifiers regulate lifespan in several organisms, raising the question of whether changes in chromatin states in the parental generation could be incompletely reprogrammed in the next generation and thereby affect the lifespan of descendants. The histone H3 lysine 4 trimethylation (H3K4me3) complex, composed of ASH-2, WDR-5 and the histone methyltransferase SET-2, regulates Caenorhabditis elegans lifespan. Here we show that deficiencies in the H3K4me3 chromatin modifiers ASH-2, WDR-5 or SET-2 in the parental generation extend the lifespan of descendants up until the third generation. The transgenerational inheritance of lifespan extension by members of the ASH-2 complex is dependent on the H3K4me3 demethylase RBR-2, and requires the presence of a functioning germline in the descendants. Transgenerational inheritance of lifespan is specific for the H3K4me3 methylation complex and is associated with epigenetic changes in gene expression. Thus, manipulation of specific chromatin modifiers only in parents can induce an epigenetic memory of longevity in descendants.
View details for DOI 10.1038/nature10572
View details for Web of Science ID 000297059700038
View details for PubMedID 22012258