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Paternal inheritance of diet induced metabolic traits correlates with germline regulation of diet induced coding gene expression

Teltumbade, Manoj, Bhalla, Ameek, Sharma, Abhay
Genomics 2019
Drosophila, acquired characters, carbohydrate metabolism, embryo (animal), embryogenesis, gene expression, gene ontology, genes, high carbohydrate diet, immune response, inheritance (genetics), messenger RNA, mice, models, oocytes, spermatozoa, transcriptome, triacylglycerols
Inheritance of induced traits through the germline is poorly understood and controversial. The ideal evidence correlating induced and inherited traits with germline gene expression remains largely obscure. Using a Drosophila coding transcriptome level model of paternal high sugar diet induced alterations in triglyceride levels across generations, in conjunction with pre-existing data, we show here highly significant overlap of differentially expressed genes between the ancestral generation, the resulting sperm and embryos, and the future generation individuals. Further, gene ontology and literature-wide overrepresentation analysis reveal association of lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, and immune response, besides others, with differentially expressed genes in the above samples. Analysis of available mouse data on inheritance of diet induced metabolic traits also revealed a similar correlation. Our results support a causal role of sperm borne mRNAs in inheritance of acquired characteristics, consistent with the evidence that these mRNAs are delivered to the oocyte and influence embryonic development.