Paternal environmental factors can epigenetically influence gene expressions in offspring. We demonstrate that restraint stress, an experimental model for strong psychological stress, to fathers affects the epigenome, transcriptome, and metabolome of offspring in a MEKK1-dATF2 pathway-dependent manner in Drosophila melanogaster. Genes involved in amino acid metabolism are upregulated by paternal restraint stress, while genes involved in glycolysis and the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle are downregulated. The effects of paternal restraint stress are also confirmed by metabolome analysis. dATF-2 is highly expressed in testicular germ cells, and restraint stress also induces p38 activation in the testes. Restraint stress induces Unpaired 3 (Upd3), a Drosophila homolog of Interleukin 6 (IL-6). Moreover, paternal overexpression of upd3 in somatic cells disrupts heterochromatin in offspring but not in offspring from dATF-2 mutant fathers. These results indicate that paternal restraint stress affects metabolism in offspring via inheritance of dATF-2-dependent epigenetic changes.
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