Sheffield Institute for Nucleic Acids

Professor Stuart Wilson

Research Interests

Professor 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.

The group work with various other members of the Institute on a number of collaborative projects. These include

  • Analysing genome wide specificity of mRNA export pathways with Ian Sudbery
  • Analysing the role of mRNA binding proteins in genome stability with Spencer Collis and Sherif El Khamisy
  • Developing new expression systems for biopharmaceutical proteins in Chinese hamster Ovary Cells with Steve West and Phil Mitchell
  • Analysis of mRNA export pathways utilised by cancer cells with Jim Catto.


  • Viphakone, N., Cumberbatch, M.G., Livingstone, M., Heath, P.R., Dickman, M.J., Catto, J.W. and Wilson, S.A. (2015) Luzp4 defines a new mRNA export pathway in cancer cells. Nuc Acids Res. 43:2353-66
  • Chang, C., Hautbergue, G., Walsh, M.P., Viphakone, N., Van DijK T., Philipsen, S., Wilson, SA. (2013) Chtop is a component of the dynamic TREX mRNA export complex. EMBO J 32:473-486
  • Viphakone, N., Hautbergue, G.M., Walsh, M., Chang, C.T., Holland, A., Falco, E.G., Reed, R. and Wilson, S.A. (2012) TREX exposes the RNA binding domain of Nxf1 to enable mRNA export. Nature Communications, 3:1006
  • Knuckles, P., Vogt, M., Lugert, S., Milo, M., Chong, M.M., Hautbergue, G.M., Wilson, S.A., Littmann, D. and Taylor, V. (2012). Drosha regulates neurogenesis by controlling Neurogenin2 expression independent of microRNAs. Nature Neuroscience 15:962-969
  • Cruz, A.*, Hautbergue,G.M. *, Artymiuk, P., Baker, P.J., Bokori-Brown, M., Chang, C.T., Dickman, M., Essex-Lopresti, A., Harding, S.V., Mahadi, N., Marshall, L.E., Mohamed, R., Nathan, S., Ngugi, S.A., Ong, C., Ooi, W.F., Partridge, L.J., Raih, F., Ruzhenikov, S.,  Sakar-Tyson, M.,  Sedelnikova,S.E.,  Smither,S.J., Tan, P., Titball, R.W., Wilson,S.A. #,  Rice, W. #  (2011)  A Burkholderia pseudomallei toxin inhibits helicase activity of translation factor eIF4A. * joint first authors; # joint corresponding authors Science 324:821-824
  • Van Hateren, N.J., Das, R.M., Hautbergue, G., Borycki, A.G., Placzek, M. and Wilson, S.A. (2011) FatJ acts via the Hippo mediator Yap1 to restrict the size of neural progenitor cell pools Development 138:1893-1902
  • Dufu, K., Livingstone, M.J., Seebacher, J., Gygi, S.P. Wilson, S.A., and Reed, R. (2010) ATP is required for interactions between UAP56 and two conserved mRNA export proteins ALY and CIP29 to assemble the TREX complex. Genes and Development 24:2043-53
  • Hautbergue, G.M., Hung, M.L., Walsh, M.J., Snijders, A.P., Chang, C.T., Jones, R., Ponting, C.P., Dickman, M.J. and Wilson, S.A. (2009). UIF, a New mRNA Export Adaptor Which Works Together with REF/ALY, Requires FACT for Recruitment to mRNA. Current Biology 19:1918-1924
  • Shiau, C.E., Lwigale, P.Y., Das, R.M, Wilson, S.A., Bronner-Fraser, M. (2008) Robo2/Slit1 dependent cell-cell interactions mediate assembly of the trigeminal ganglion. Nature Neuroscience 11:269-276
  • Hautbergue, G.M., Hung, M.L., Golovanov, A.P. Lian, L.Y., and Wilson, S.A. (2008) Mutually exclusive interactions drive hand over of mRNA from export adaptors to TAP PNAS 105:5154-5159
Professor Stuart Wilson
Institute Director
Professor of Gene Expression
School of Biosciences
+44 (0)114 2222849