wilsonsProfessor Stuart Wilson

Professor of Genetics


Tel: 0114 222 2849
Email: stuart.wilson@sheffield.ac.uk

Research

Research Precis

fig1Professor Wilson’s laboratory studies how messenger RNA is transported from the nucleus to the cytoplasm in human cells. The group have a particularly interested in how this process is coupled with earlier mRNA processing events in the nucleus such as splicing, polyadenylation and RNA modifications such as methylation. They use a multidisciplinary approach to study this essential step in the gene expression pathway, combining molecular and cell biology techniques with the latest genome wide bioinformatic approaches. Current research areas include analysing how nuclear long non-coding RNAs and unprocessed mRNAs are kept in the nucleus and how this goes wrong in motor neuron disease associated with the C9ORF72 gene. Professor Wilson’s group are also analysing how DNA damage regulates mRNA export and how mRNA is packaged by the cell to help prevent the formation of R-loops which can trigger DNA damage.

Figure 1: SPLICING FACTORS AND mRNA EXPORT FACTORS COLOCALISE IN NUCLEAR SPECKLES IN HUMAN CELLS. A GFP-fusion of the Tap mRNA export factor colocalises with the nuclear pore (signal around the rim of the nucleus) and the nuclear speckles. Tap colocalises in the nuclear speckles with the splicing factor SC35.

The transport of mRNA from the nucleus to the cytoplasm in human cells

In eukaryotes mRNA is produced in the nucleus through the process of transcription but then has to be transported to the cytoplasm where it is translated to generate proteins in the cell. We study how mRNA is exported from the nucleus to the cytoplasm mainly in human cells and how this process is coupled with transcription and RNA processing events such as splicing, capping and polyadenylation. We use a wide variety of techniques to study this process including X-ray crystallography, NMR, microscopy, molecular biology and biochemistry. The images below show some results using microscopy techniques to look at where mRNA export factors are found in the cell. They also show what happens to mRNA when we deplete these factors using RNA interference techniques.

fig2

Figure 2: DEPLETION OF TAP USING RNAi BLOCKS mRNA EXPORT. RNA interference in human cells demonstrates that Tap is essential for mRNA export from the nucleus. YFP-tubulin is used as a transfection marker to highlight those cells which have been transfected with an RNA interference vector which causes depletion of Tap protein. The central panel shows the distribution of mRNA, detected using fluorescence in situ hybridisation with labelled oligodT which hybridises to the polyA tails on mRNA.

Research Keywords

Nucleic acids, mRNA export, RNA interference

Teaching

Level 3 Modules

MBB325 The RNA World (Module Coordinator)

Career History

Career History

  • 2008 - present: Professor, Dept of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield
  • 2008: Reader, Dept of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield
  • 2003 - 2007: Senior Lecturer, Dept of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield
  • 1999 - 2003: Lecturer Dept. of Biomolecular Sciences, UMIST
  • 1996 - 1999: Weir Junior Research Fellow, University College Oxford
  • 1995 - 1999: Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellow, Biochemistry Dept, Oxford University
  • 1991 - 1995: Post-doctoral fellow, Biochemistry Department, University College London
  • 1987 - 1991: PhD student, Biochemistry Department, University College London
  • 1984 - 1987: Degree in Cell and Molecular Biology, Biophysics Department, King's College London








































Publications

Journal articles

Chapters

  • Wilson SA, Van Hateren NJ & jones RS (2009) RNA Interference in Chicken Embryos In Nakamura H (Ed.), Electroporation and Sonoporation in Developmental Biology (pp. 295-314). Springer Verlag RIS download Bibtex download
  • Wilson SA, van hateren NJ & das RM (2009) RNAi in chicken embryos In Doran DT & Helliwell C (Ed.), RNA interference: methods for plants and animals (pp. 183-204). CABI Publishing RIS download Bibtex download