ATF7-Dependent Epigenetic Changes Are Required for the Intergenerational Effect of a Paternal Low-Protein Diet.
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A low-protein diet in mice can switch on genes that metabolize cholesterol in their children.
There is growing evidence to suggest that parents’ diets can affect the health of their children via the genetic material they pass on to the next generation. But the specifics of how this occurs are unknown.
Now, a team led by a researcher at Tsukuba University has found that feeding a low-protein diet to mice causes a protein called ATF7 to no longer bind to certain DNA regions. This had the effect of turning on about 2,300 genes, including those for fat metabolism in the liver and cholesterol production. This genetic change was then passed on to the offspring via the father’s sperm.
This shows how parental diet can affect their offspring’s health and lead to the development of metabolic disorders such as diabetes.
- Molecular Cell 78, 445–458 (2020) doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2020.02.028