Stephen Tait - Mitochondria and Cell Death

University of Glasgow / Beatson Associate


tait s

Cell death is a key tumour suppressor mechanism that must be inhibited in order for cancer to develop. Sensitivity to cell death also governs therapeutic efficacy because anti-cancer therapies often act by killing cells. The major form of programmed cell death is apoptosis, a process in which mitochondria play an essential role. Our research focuses upon understanding how mitochondria control cell death and addressing how this is deregulated in cancer. Clinical translation of our findings should lead to improvements of existing therapies and development of new approaches to enable tumour selective killing.

University of Glasgow webpage

Lab Report



Education and qualifications

2001: PhD, University of Sussex, Institute for Animal Health, Pirbright Lab
1996: BSc, Medical Microbiology, University of Edinburgh


2012-present: Group Leader, CRUK Beatson Institute/University of Glasgow
2005-2011: Postdoctoral Fellow with Doug Green, St Jude Children's Hospital, Memphis, USA
2003-2005: Postdoctoral Fellow with Jannie Borst, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam
2001-2003: Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam

Recent Publications


Correia-Melo C, Marques FD, Anderson R, Hewitt G, Hewitt R, Cole J, Carroll BM, Miwa S, Birch J, Merz A, Rushton MD, Charles M, Jurk D, Tait SW, Czapiewski R, Greaves L, Nelson G, Bohlooly-Y M, Rodriguez-Cuenca S, Vidal-Puig A, Mann D, Saretzki G, Quarato G, Green DR, Adams PD, von Zglinicki T, Korolchuk VI, Passos JF. Mitochondria are required for pro-ageing features of the senescent phenotype. EMBO J. 2016 Apr 1;35(7):724-42


Baudot AD, Haller M, Mrschtik M, Tait SW, Ryan KM. Using enhanced-mitophagy to measure autophagic flux. Methods 75: 105-11, 2015

Dikovskaya D, Cole JJ, Mason SM, Nixon C, Karim SA, McGarry L, Clark W, Hewitt RN, Sammons MA, Zhu J, Athineos D, Leach JD, Marchesi F, van Tuyn J, Tait SW, Brock C, Morton JP, Wu H, Berger SL, Blyth K, Adams PD. Mitotic Stress Is an Integral Part of the Oncogene-Induced Senescence Program that Promotes Multinucleation and Cell Cycle Arrest. Cell Rep 2015; 12: 1483-96

Galluzzi L, Bravo-San Pedro JM, Vitale I, Aaronson SA, Abrams JM, Adam D, Alnemri ES, Altucci L, Andrews D, Annicchiarico-Petruzzelli M, Baehrecke EH, Bazan NG, Bertrand MJ, Bianchi K, Blagosklonny MV, Blomgren K, Borner C, Bredesen DE, Brenner C, Campanella M, Candi E, Cecconi F, Chan FK, Chandel NS, Cheng EH, Chipuk JE, Cidlowski JA, Ciechanover A, Dawson TM, Dawson VL, De Laurenzi V, De Maria R, Debatin KM, Di Daniele N, Dixit VM, Dynlacht BD, El-Deiry WS, Fimia GM, Flavell RA, Fulda S, Garrido C, Gougeon ML, Green DR, Gronemeyer H, Hajnoczky G, Hardwick JM, Hengartner MO, Ichijo H, Joseph B, Jost PJ, Kaufmann T, Kepp O, Klionsky DJ, Knight RA, Kumar S, Lemasters JJ, Levine B, Linkermann A, Lipton SA, Lockshin RA, Lopez-Otin C, Lugli E, Madeo F, Malorni W, Marine JC, Martin SJ, Martinou JC, Medema JP, Meier P, Melino S, Mizushima N, Moll U, Munoz-Pinedo C, Nunez G, Oberst A, Panaretakis T, Penninger JM, Peter ME, Piacentini M, Pinton P, Prehn JH, Puthalakath H, Rabinovich GA, Ravichandran KS, Rizzuto R, Rodrigues CM, Rubinsztein DC, Rudel T, Shi Y, Simon HU, Stockwell BR, Szabadkai G, Tait SW, Tang HL, Tavernarakis N, Tsujimoto Y, Vanden Berghe T, Vandenabeele P, Villunger A, Wagner EF, Walczak H, White E, Wood WG, Yuan J, Zakeri Z, Zhivotovsky B, Melino G, Kroemer G. Essential versus accessory aspects of cell death: recommendations of the NCCD 2015. Cell Death Differ 22: 58-73, 2015

Ichim G, Lopez J, Ahmed SU, Muthalagu N, Giampazolias E, Delgado ME, Haller M, Riley JS, Mason SM, Athineos D, Parsons MJ, van de Kooij B, Bouchier-Hayes L, Chalmers AJ, Rooswinkel RW, Oberst A, Blyth K, Rehm M, Murphy DJ, Tait SW. Limited mitochondrial permeabilization causes DNA damage and genomic instability in the absence of cell death. Mol Cell 57: 860-72, 2015

Lopez J, Tait SW. Mitochondrial apoptosis: killing cancer using the enemy within. Br J Cancer 112: 957-62, 2015

Todt F, Cakir Z, Reichenbach F, Emschermann F, Lauterwasser J, Kaiser A, Ichim G, Tait SWG, Frank S, Langer HF, Edlich F. Differential retrotranslocation of mitochondrial Bax and Bak. EMBO J 34: 67-80, 2015


Haller M, Hock AK, Giampazolias E, Oberst A, Green DR, Debnath J, Ryan KM, Vousden KH, Tait SWG. Ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation of ATG12 regulates its pro-apoptotic activity, Autophagy 10: 2269-78, 2014

Ichim G, Tait SW. Necroptosis: fifty shades of RIPKs. Mol Cell Oncol 2015; 2. doi: 10.4161/23723548.2014.965638. Epub 2014 Nov 7

Lopez J, Tait SW. Killing the Killer: PARC/CUL9 promotes cell survival by destroying cytochrome C. Sci Signal 7: pe17, 2014

Orozco S, Yatim N, Werner MR, Tran H, Gunja SY, Tait SW, Albert ML, Green DR, Oberst A. RIPK1 both positively and negatively regulates RIPK3 oligomerization and necroptosis. Cell Death Differ 21: 1511-21, 2014

Tait SW, Ichim G, Green DR. Die another way--non-apoptotic mechanisms of cell death. J Cell Sci 127: 2135-44, 2014


Tait SW, Oberst A, Quarato G, Milasta S, Haller M, Wang R, Karvela M, Ichim G, Yatim N, Albert ML, Kidd G, Wakefield R, Frase S, Krautwald S, Linkermann A, Green DR. Widespread mitochondrial depletion via mitophagy does not compromise necroptosis. Cell Reports 5: 878-85, 2013

Tait S. DNA: leukemia's secret weapon of bone mass destruction. Oncogene 32: 5199-200, 2013

Tait SWT, Green DR. Mitochondrial regulation of cell death. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology 5: a008706, 2013


Bender CE, Fitzgerald P, Tait SWG, Llambi F, McStay GP, Tupper DO, Pellettieri J, Alvarado AS, Salvesen GS, Green DR. Mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis is ancestral in metazoans. PNAS 109: 4904-9, 2012

Tait SWG, Green DR. Mitochondria and cell signalling. J Cell Sci 125: 807-15, 2012

Lab Members

tait lab 2013


Florian Bock
Kirsteen Campbell
Kai Cao
Gabriel Ichim (EMBO)
Joel Riley

Scientific Officer

Catherine Cloix

Clinical Research Fellow

Anna Koessinger (CRUK Centre)

PhD Students

Evangelos Giampazolias (CRUK Centre)
Alba Roca


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