Marcus Wilson

Sir Henry Dale Fellow

Marcus Wilson is a Sir Henry Dale Fellow in the Wellcome Centre for Cell Biology. His research focuses on understanding how epigenetic marks are deposited, read and removed on chromatin. His group primarily use structural biology approaches such as single particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and supplement this with biochemical and biophysical methods. After Masters studies at the University of Oxford, UK, Marcus moved to the Cancer Research UK, Clare Hall laboratories in London to study for his PhD with Dr. Jesper Svejstup. Marcus then moved to a postdoctoral position with Prof. Daniel Durocher in the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum research Institute in Toronto, Canada where he began working on cryo-EM; collaborating with Dr. John Rubinstein at the SickKids Research Institute in Toronto. Marcus then gained further cryo-EM experience during a two year postdoctoral position with Alessandro Costa at the Macromolecular Machines Laboratory at the Francis Crick Institute. Marcus joined the University of Edinburgh and the Wellcome Centre for Cell Biology in July 2018.

Lab members

Marcus Wilson joined the Wellcome Centre for Cell Biology in July 2018 as a Sir Henry Dale Fellow.

Mechanisms of epigenetic modifications


A schematic of the cycle of epigenetic modifications in the cell. Epigenetic modifications are initially deposited by writer enzymes. These are then read and interpreted in a co-operative manner by effector proteins. Epigenetic marks can also be removed by eraser proteins, which can reset the system. All modifications focus on the nucleosome hub, which can be modified on both the histone proteins and wrapped DNA. We are particularly interested in understanding how DNA damage repair and DNA methylation pathways are orchestrated by epigenetically-modified nucleosomes. Example Reader, writer and eraser proteins in these pathways are labelled. We hope to shed more light on how these proteins interact with epigenetic marks using biochemistry and structural biology approaches.

Selected publications:

Wilson, M.D., Benlekbir, S., Fradet-Turcotte, A., Sherker, A., Julien, J.P., McEwan, A., Noordermeer, S.M., Sicheri, F., Rubinstein, J.L., and Durocher, D. (2016). The structural basis of modified nucleosome recognition by 53BP1. Nature 536, 100-103.

Wilson, M.D., and Costa, A. (2017). Cryo-electron microscopy of chromatin biology. Acta Crystallogr D Struct Biol 73, 541-548.

Wilson, M.D., and Durocher, D. (2017). Reading chromatin signatures after DNA double-strand breaks. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 372.