School of Life Sciences
Host: Oliver Hobert
Title: Energy-sensing pathways mediate intergenerational inheritance.
Abstract: Information sensed by the maternal generation may pass to the offspring to increase their fitness. However, the mechanisms of inheritance of adaptive maternal effects through the germline are largely unknown. We use a new model nematode that offers many advantages for studying this phenomenon, due to the easy-to-score phenotypes, short lifecycle and large reproductive output. We found that environmental stress experienced by the parental generation induces the production of stress-resistant offspring. Environmental signals sensed by neurons send signals to the germline to change its epigenetic and transcriptional profile. The neuronal signals to the germline are mediated by highly conserved energy sensors, raising the possibility that the same mechanism may be present in other organisms that display intergenerational inheritance.