Jason Mercer Research Group

2005 Ph.D. Microbiology and Molecular Genetics; Medical College of Wisconsin, USA
1998 B.A. Biological Sciences; Northern Illinois University, USA
Jason Mercer
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7679 3528
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7679 7805
2011-2014 Swiss National Science Foundation Ambizione
2008-2010 EMBO Long-term Postdoctoral Fellowship
2007-2008 Roche Postdoctoral Fellowship
1997 NIU at Oxford Research Fellowship
Previous Posts: 
2011-2014 Oberassistent/Group Leader; ETH Zurich, Switzerland
2006-2011 Postdoctoral Fellow; ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Cell Biology of Virus Infection


obligate intracellular parasites viruses intimately rely on host cell factors
for all stages of their replication.  Our
group is interested in deciphering the complex interactions that occur between poxviruses
and their host cells during all stages of the infection cycle. We investigate how
viruses initiate their internalization by endocytosis, and how they utilize transport
within cellular endocytic systems to their advantage.  We are also analyzing how the viral genome and
accessory proteins escape into the cytosol, and how replication proceeds.

these we combine cellular, molecular, and virological techniques with state-of-the-art
technologies such as automated small compound and image-based siRNA screening, advanced
proteomics, live cell microscopy, and electron microscopy. Our particular
interests lie in uncovering novel mechanisms by which viruses subjugate host
cell functions to facilitate their entry, replication, and spread.

VACV Assays

Systematic analysis of the poxvirus lifecycle. Representative images of each of the stages of the
virus lifecycle for which we have developed specific, quantitative, high- or medium-
throughput assays.


CR Cover

Cell Reports on the cover: Vaccinia virus, the prototypic poxvirus, is complex in structure. Virions consist of a lipid bilayer surrounding a genome-containing core, which is flanked by two proteinaceous lateral bodies, the composition and function of which has remained enigmatic for over 40 years. In this issue, Mercer and colleagues show that poxvirus lateral bodies, akin to herpesvirus tegument, serve as delivery containers for viral immunomodulatory proteins. The cover image shows a collection of immunoelectron micrographs of vaccinia virions labeled for the viral protein F17, identified as a major lateral body component. Images by C.K.E. Bleck.




Lab Members: 
Samuel Kilcher
Jump to: 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2005 | 2003
Number of items: 28.


Kilcher, S; Schmidt, FI; Schneider, C; Kopf, M; Helenius, A; Mercer, J; (2014) siRNA Screen of Early Poxvirus Genes Identifies the AAA+ ATPase D5 as the Virus Genome-Uncoating Factor. Cell Host Microbe , 15 (1) 103 - 112. 10.1016/j.chom.2013.12.008.


Kilcher, S; Mercer, J; (2013) Next generation approaches to study virus entry and infection. Curr Opin Virol , 4C 8 - 14. 10.1016/j.coviro.2013.10.002.

Mercer, J; Greber, UF; (2013) Virus interactions with endocytic pathways in macrophages and dendritic cells. Trends Microbiol , 21 (8) 380 - 388. 10.1016/j.tim.2013.06.001.

Mercer, J; Lozach, P-Y; (2013) La machinerie cellulaire de dégradation des protéines de l'hôte participe à la libération du génome des poxvirus. Medecine/Sciences , 29 (6-7) 561 - 563. 10.1051/medsci/2013296002.

Nicola, AV; Aguilar, HC; Mercer, J; Ryckman, B; Wiethoff, CM; (2013) Virus entry by endocytosis. Advances in Virology , 2013 10.1155/2013/469538. Gold open access

Schmidt, FI; Bleck, CK; Reh, L; Novy, K; Wollscheid, B; Helenius, A; ... Mercer, J; + view all (2013) Vaccinia Virus Entry Is Followed by Core Activation and Proteasome-Mediated Release of the Immunomodulatory Effector VH1 from Lateral Bodies. Cell Rep , 4 (3) 464 - 476. 10.1016/j.celrep.2013.06.028. Gold open access

Schmidt, FI; Kuhn, P; Robinson, T; Mercer, J; Dittrich, PS; (2013) Single-Virus Fusion Experiments Reveal Proton Influx into Vaccinia Virions and Hemifusion Lag Times. Biophysical Journal , 105 (2) 420 - 431. 10.1016/j.bpj.2013.06.016.

Unger, B; Mercer, J; Boyle, KA; Traktman, P; (2013) Biogenesis of the vaccinia virus membrane: genetic and ultrastructural analysis of the contributions of the A14 and A17 proteins. J Virol , 87 (2) 1083 - 1097. 10.1128/JVI.02529-12.

Wang, I-H; Suomalainen, M; Andriasyan, V; Greber, UF; Kilcher, S; Mercer, J; ... Luedtke, NW; + view all (2013) Tracking viral genomes in host cells at single-molecule resolution. Cell Host and Microbe , 14 (4) 468 - 480. 10.1016/j.chom.2013.09.004.


Frei, AP; Jeon, OY; Kilcher, S; Moest, H; Henning, LM; Jost, C; ... Wollscheid, B; + view all (2012) Direct identification of ligand-receptor interactions on living cells and tissues. Nat Biotechnol , 30 (10) 997 - 1001. 10.1038/nbt.2354.

Kuhn, P; Eyer, K; Robinson, T; Schmidt, FI; Mercer, J; Dittrich, PS; (2012) A facile protocol for the immobilisation of vesicles, virus particles, bacteria, and yeast cells. Integr Biol (Camb) , 4 (12) 1550 - 1555. 10.1039/c2ib20181j.

Mercer, J; Helenius, A; (2012) Gulping rather than sipping: macropinocytosis as a way of virus entry. Curr Opin Microbiol , 15 (4) 490 - 499. 10.1016/j.mib.2012.05.016.

Mercer, J; Snijder, B; Sacher, R; Burkard, C; Bleck, CK; Stahlberg, H; ... Helenius, A; + view all (2012) RNAi screening reveals proteasome- and Cullin3-dependent stages in vaccinia virus infection. Cell Rep , 2 (4) 1036 - 1047. 10.1016/j.celrep.2012.09.003. Gold open access

Schmidt, FI; Bleck, CK; Mercer, J; (2012) Poxvirus host cell entry. Curr Opin Virol , 2 (1) 20 - 27. 10.1016/j.coviro.2011.11.007.

Schmidt, FI; Mercer, J; (2012) Vaccinia virus egress: actin OUT with clathrin. Cell Host Microbe , 12 (3) 263 - 265. 10.1016/j.chom.2012.08.007.

Snijder, B; Sacher, R; Raemoe, P; Liberali, P; Mench, K; Wolfrum, N; ... Pelkmans, L; + view all (2012) Single-cell analysis of population context advances RNAi screening at multiple levels. MOLECULAR SYSTEMS BIOLOGY , 8 , Article ARTN 579. 10.1038/msb.2012.9. Gold open access

Stiefel, P; Schmidt, FI; Dörig, P; Behr, P; Zambelli, T; Vorholt, JA; Mercer, J; (2012) Cooperative vaccinia infection demonstrated at the single-cell level using FluidFM. Nano Lett , 12 (8) 4219 - 4227. 10.1021/nl3018109.


Mercer, J; (2011) Viral apoptotic mimicry party: P.S. Bring your own Gas6. Cell Host Microbe , 9 (4) 255 - 257. 10.1016/j.chom.2011.04.002.

Schmidt, FI; Bleck, CK; Helenius, A; Mercer, J; (2011) Vaccinia extracellular virions enter cells by macropinocytosis and acid-activated membrane rupture. EMBO J , 30 (17) 3647 - 3661. 10.1038/emboj.2011.245.


Mercer, J; Helenius, A; (2010) Apoptotic mimicry: phosphatidylserine-mediated macropinocytosis of vaccinia virus. Ann N Y Acad Sci , 1209 49 - 55. 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2010.05772.x.

Mercer, J; Knebel, S; Schmidt, FI; Crouse, J; Burkard, C; Helenius, A; (2010) Vaccinia virus strains use distinct forms of macropinocytosis for host-cell entry. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , 107 (20) 9346 - 9351. 10.1073/pnas.1004618107.

Mercer, J; Schelhaas, M; Helenius, A; (2010) Virus entry by endocytosis. Annu Rev Biochem , 79 803 - 833. 10.1146/annurev-biochem-060208-104626.


Mercer, J; Helenius, A; (2009) Virus entry by macropinocytosis. Nat Cell Biol , 11 (5) 510 - 520. 10.1038/ncb0509-510.

Mercer, J; Helenius, A; (2009) High-throughput siRNA silencing screens to identify host-cell factors required for virus infection. Future Virology , 4 (6) 517 - 519. 10.2217/fvl.09.58.


Amstutz, B; Gastaldelli, M; Kälin, S; Imelli, N; Boucke, K; Wandeler, E; ... Hemmi, S; + view all (2008) Subversion of CtBP1-controlled macropinocytosis by human adenovirus serotype 3. EMBO Journal , 27 (7) 956 - 969. 10.1038/emboj.2008.38.

Mercer, J; Helenius, A; (2008) Vaccinia virus uses macropinocytosis and apoptotic mimicry to enter host cells. Science , 320 (5875) 531 - 535. 10.1126/science.1155164.


Mercer, J; Traktman, P; (2005) Genetic and cell biological characterization of the vaccinia virus A30 and G7 phosphoproteins. J Virol , 79 (11) 7146 - 7161. 10.1128/JVI.79.11.7146-7161.2005.


Mercer, J; Traktman, P; (2003) Investigation of structural and functional motifs within the vaccinia virus A14 phosphoprotein, an essential component of the virion membrane. J Virol , 77 (16) 8857 - 8871.

This list was generated on Fri Sep 19 13:12:06 2014 BST.