A histone methylation network regulates transgenerational epigenetic memory in C. elegans

Cell Rep. 2014 Apr 10;7(1):113-26. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2014.02.044. Epub 2014 Mar 27.


How epigenetic information is transmitted from generation to generation remains largely unknown. Deletion of the C. elegans histone H3 lysine 4 dimethyl (H3K4me2) demethylase spr-5 leads to inherited accumulation of the euchromatic H3K4me2 mark and progressive decline in fertility. Here, we identified multiple chromatin-modifying factors, including H3K4me1/me2 and H3K9me3 methyltransferases, an H3K9me3 demethylase, and an H3K9me reader, which either suppress or accelerate the progressive transgenerational phenotypes of spr-5 mutant worms. Our findings uncover a network of chromatin regulators that control the transgenerational flow of epigenetic information and suggest that the balance between euchromatic H3K4 and heterochromatic H3K9 methylation regulates transgenerational effects on fertility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Chromatin / genetics
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Epigenomics
  • Histones / genetics*
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Methylation
  • Methyltransferases / metabolism
  • Oxidoreductases, N-Demethylating / genetics


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Chromatin
  • Histones
  • Oxidoreductases, N-Demethylating
  • SPR-5 protein, C elegans
  • Methyltransferases

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE52102