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Unit Programme:  Post-transcriptional control of gene expression following toxic injury

Professor Anne Willis OBE

Anne’s research in the Unit is directed towards understanding the role of post-transcriptional control in response to toxic injury with a focus on RNA-binding proteins, regulatory RNA motifs and tRNAs. Through our mechanistic research we are developing predictive adverse outcome models that can be shared with our industrial partners, in particular we are working to understand the “off target” effects of new modalities such as therapeutic RNAs. In addition to her Unit programme, Anne holds a Wellcome Trust investigator award (jointly with Professor Kathryn Lilley in Biochemistry) to research into the processes that drive localised mRNA translation, a Wellcome Trust collaborative grant to study the role of mRNA translation elongation control in health and disease, with additional funding from BBSRC, Bloodwise and Cancer Research Technologies (as part of translational alliance with industry).


Selected Publications

  1. Grosso S et al Willis AE (2021) The pathogenesis of mesothelioma is driven by a dysregulated translatome Nat Commun. 12: 4920.
  2. Knight JRP, et al Willis AE, Bushell M, Sansom OJ. (2021) Cancer Discov. 11(5):1228-1247.
  3. Smith EM, et al Willis AE*, Bushell M* (2021)  The mTOR regulated RNA-binding protein LARP1 requires PABPC1 for guided mRNA interaction.  Nucleic Acids Res. 11;49(1):458-478. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkaa1189.
  4. Zoe A Stephenson, Robert F Harvey, Kenneth R Pryde, Sarah Mistry, Rachel E Hardy, Riccardo Serreli, Injae Chung, Timothy EH Allen, Mark Stoneley, Marion MacFarlane, Peter M Fischer, Judy Hirst, Barrie Kellam, Anne E Willis* (2020) Identification of a novel toxicophore in anti-cancer chemotherapeutics that targets mitochondrial respiratory complex I eLife. 2020; 9: e55845
  5. Robert F Harvey, Tuija A A Pöyry, Mark Stoneley, Anne E Willis* (2019) Signaling from mTOR to eIF2α mediates cell migration in response to the chemotherapeutic doxorubicin. Science Signal 12 (612):eaaw6763. doi: 10.1126/scisignal.aaw6763.
  6. Liko D, Mitchell L, Campbell KJ, Ridgway RA, Jones C, Dudek K, King A, Bryson S, Stevenson D, Blyth K, Strathdee D, Morton JP, Bird TG, Knight JRP, Willis AE, Sansom OJ. (2019) Brf1 loss and not overexpression disrupts tissues homeostasis in the intestine, liver and pancreas. Cell Death Differ. 26(12):2535-2550.
  7. Queiroz RML, Smith T, Villanueva E, Marti-Solano M, Monti M, Pizzinga M, Mirea DM, Ramakrishna M, Harvey RF, Dezi V, Thomas GH, Willis AE, Lilley KS. (2019) Comprehensive identification of RNA-protein interactions in any organism using orthogonal organic phase separation (OOPS).  Nat Biotechnol. 37(2):169-178.
  8. Piñeiro D, Stoneley M, Ramakrishna M, Alexandrova J, Dezi V, Juke-Jones R, Lilley KS, Cain K, Willis AE.  Identification of the RNA polymerase I-RNA interactome. Nucleic Acids Res. (2018) 16;46(20):11002-11013
  9. Marini A, Rotblat B, Sbarrato T, Niklison-Chirou MV, Knight JRP, Dudek K, Jones C, Bushell M, Knight RA, Amelio I, Willis AE*, Melino G*. (2018) TAp73 contributes to the oxidative stress response by regulating protein synthesis.  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 115:6219-6224.
  10. Chernova T, Murphy FA, Galavotti S, Grosso S, Dudek KM, Dinsdale D, Le Quesne J, Bennett, Donaldson K, Bushell M, Willis AE*, MacFarlane M*. (2017) Long-Fiber Carbon Nanotubes Replicate Asbestos-Induced Mesothelioma with Disruption of the Tumor Suppressor Gene Cdkn2a (Ink4a/Arf). Curr Biol. 27:3302-3314.e6.
  11. Bastide A, Peretti D, Knight JR, Grosso S, Spriggs RV, Pichon X, Sbarrato T, Roobol A, Roobol J, Vito D, Bushell M, von der Haar T, Smales CM, Mallucci GR*, Willis AE*.   (2017) RTN3 Is a Novel Cold-Induced Protein and Mediates Neuroprotective Effects of RBM3. Curr Biol. 27:638-650.

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