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Table 1 Molecular mechanisms of epigenetic transgenerational heredity

From: Epigenetic inheritance and the missing heritability

Steps Molecular mechanisms
DNA sequence-invariant heritable traits DNA methylation/histone post-translational modifications
DNA methylation maintenance across cell division cycles Hemimethylated DNA-guided, DNMT1-mediated CpG methylation pattern maintenance
DNA demethylation Passive DNA demethylation
 5-mC to 5-hmC conversion
Active DNA demethylation
 Glycosylase-mediated base removal and base excision repair mechanisms
Histone code Condensed chromatin
 HAT inactivation
 HMT activation
Relaxed chromatin
 HAT activation
 HMT inactivation
Epigenetic modulation of mother-to-fetus transmission Maternal nutrition status
Maternal exposure to environmental toxins and food contaminants
 Tobacco smoke
Cell differentiation and body development Epigenetic signature reprogramming
 Erasure/reprogramming in the zygote (mitotic transmission)
 Erasure/reprogramming in PGCs (meiotic transmission)
Gamete-carried transmission
 DNA methylation profiles in sperm and oocytes
 H3K4 and H3K27 histone methylation in sperm cells
 RNA molecules carried by sperm cells (mRNA, non-coding RNA, miRNA, siRNA, piRNA)
Stem cell reprogramming Epigenetic signature of induced pluripotency
 Decreased TETs/decreased hydroxymethylation at ES gene promoters
 Reprogramming-resistant regions enriched for H3K9me3