Gene regulatory information can be inherited between generations in a phenomenon termed transgenerational epigenetic inheritance (TEI). While examples of TEI in many animals accumulate, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has proven particularly useful in investigating the underlying molecular mechanisms of this phenomenon. In C. elegans and other animals, the modification of histone proteins has emerged as a potential carrier and effector of transgenerational epigenetic information. In this review, we explore the contribution of histone modifications to TEI in C. elegans. We describe the role of repressive histone marks, histone methyltransferases, and associated chromatin factors in heritable gene silencing, and discuss recent developments and unanswered questions in how these factors integrate with other known TEI mechanisms. We also review the transgenerational effects of the manipulation of histone modifications on germline health and longevity.

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