Advanced paternal age can have deleterious effects on various traits in the next generation. Here, we establish a paternal-aging model in mice to understand the molecular mechanisms of transgenerational epigenetics. Whole-genome target DNA methylome analyses of sperm from aged mice reveal more hypo-methylated genomic regions enriched in REST/NRSF binding motifs. Gene set enrichment analyses also reveal the upregulation of REST/NRSF target genes in the forebrain of embryos from aged fathers. Offspring derived from young mice administrated with a DNA de-methylation drug phenocopy the abnormal vocal communication of pups derived from aged fathers. In conclusion, hypo-methylation of sperm DNA can be a key molecular feature modulating neurodevelopmental programs in offspring by causing fluctuations in the expression of REST/NRSF target genes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology