Our people

Professor Mike Berridge

BSc, MSc(Hons), PhD(Auckland)

Cancer Cell Biology Group Leader

Professor Mike Berridge completed his postgraduate degree in cell biology at the University of Auckland in 1971.

Following postdoctoral research at Purdue University, USA, and the National Institute for Medical Research, UK, Prof Berridge returned to Wellington in 1976 as the second Malaghan Research Fellow.

He established the Cancer Cell Biology Research Group and received a James Cook Fellowship in health sciences from 2003 to 2005.

Research interests

The main focus of the Cancer Cell Biology Group’s research is on discovery. It applies new knowledge and methodologies about cells, cell systems and more complex tissues and organs to the treatment of human diseases with a particular emphasis on cancer and diseases involving altered energy metabolism.

Over the past few years we have shown that energy-producing mitochondria together with their small compact genome move between cells in the body. This novel discovery challenged the widely-held dogma that genes remain within cells. Using melanoma and breast cancer cells without mitochondrial DNA developed in our laboratory, we showed that tumours formed only after a long lag period, and that these tumours acquired mitochondrial DNA and therefore mitochondria from normal cells in the surrounding tissue. These rebuilt tumour cells recovered their energy-producing potential and spread to other organs. We have now extended this research to an aggressive brain tumour and shown that mitochondrial transfer also occurs in the brain.

This is the beginning of a research journey because we do not know the cellular origin of mitochondria acquired by the disabled tumour cells or the signals driving intercellular movement; we do not know whether mitochondrial movement between cells occurs normally in the body to replace damaged mitochondria and we can only speculate about the role of mitochondrial trafficking in human diseases and in ageing.  

In current Marsden-funded research, we are investigating whether mitochondrial transfer between cells contributes to successful bone marrow transplantation in human patients who receive unrelated donor marrow for blood cell disorders. Parallel mouse bone marrow transplantation experiments will add to our understanding of this process because we have available a toolkit of genetic and fluorescence-based investigational tools. These tools will also be applied to brain tumour models and to other brain disease models we are developing.

In summary, we have opened a window of opportunity to explore a new cellular phenomenon that has the potential to positively impact human health and the treatment of diseases. We will investigate the wider implications of our discovery and work closely with collaborators at Victoria University of Wellington and internationally to progress these and emergent research initiatives.

Research group

Cancer Cell Biology Group
Research Group Leader: Professor Mike Berridge
Senior Research Officer: Carole Grasso
Research Fellow: Dr Patries Herst
Dr David Eccles
PhD Student: Georgia Carson
Rebecca Dawson
Masters Student: Brittany Lewer
National Collaborator: Dr Andrew Muncaski
Dr Melanie McConnell
Dr Robert Weinkove
International Collaborator: Professor Jiri Neuzil
Dr Lanfeng Dong
Professor Justin St John



Dong L-F, Kovarova J, Bajzikova M, Bezawork-Geleta A, Svec D, Endaya B, Sachaphibulkij K, Coelho AR, Sebkova N, Ruzickova A, Tan AS, Kluckova K, Judasova K, Zamecnikova K, Rychtarcikova Z, Gopalan V, Andera L, Sobol M, Yan B, Pattnaik B, Bhatraju N, Truksa J, Stopka P, Hozak P, Lam A, Sedlacek, R, Oliveira P, Kubista M, Agrawal A, Dvorakova-Hortova K, Rohlena J, Berridge MV, Neuzil J (2017) Horizontal transfer of whole mitochondria restores tumorigenic potential in mitochondrial DNA-deficient cancer cells. eLife

Berridge MV, Neuzil J (2017) The mobility of mitochondria: intercellular trafficking in health and disease. Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology. 


Waghorne CL, Corkran HM, Hunt-Painter AA, Niktab E, Baty JW, Berridge MV, Munkacsi AB, McConnell MJ, Timmer MS, Stocker BL (2016) N,N-Bis(glycityl)amines as anti-cancer drugs. Bioorg Med Chem

Roth I, Campbell H, Rubio C, Vennin C, Wilson M, Wiles A, Williams G, Woolley A, Timpson P, Berridge MV, Fleming N, Baird M, Braithwaite A (2016) The Δ133p53 isoform and its mouse analogue Δ122p53 promote invasion and metastasis involving pro-inflammatory molecules interleukin-6 and CCL2. Oncogene

Grasso C, Anaka M, Hofmann O, Sompallae R, Broadley K, Hide W, Berridge MV, Cebon J, Behren A, McConnell MJ (2016) Iterative sorting of CD133+ and CD133- melanoma cells indicates two phenotypically distinct populations.BMC Cancer

Berridge MV, McConnell MJ, Grasso C, Bajzikova M, Kovarova J, Neuzil J (2016) Horizontal transfer of mitochondria between mammalian cells: beyond co-culture approaches.Curr Opin Genetics Dev

Berridge MV, Schneider R, McConnell MJ (2016) Mitochondrial transfer from astrocytes to neurons following ischemic insult: guilt by association?Cell Metab


Tan AS, Baty JW, Dong LF, Bezawork-Geleta A, Endaya B, Goodwin J, Bajzikova M, Kovarova J, Peterka M, Yan B, Pesdar EA, Sobo M, Filimonenko A, Stuart S, Vondrusova M, Kluckova K, Sachaphibulkij K, Rohlena J, Hozak P, Truksa J, Eccles D, Haupt LM, Griffiths LR, Neuzil J, Berridge MV (2015) Mitochondrial Genome Acquisition Restores Respiratory Function and Tumorigenic Potential of Cancer Cells without Mitochondrial DNA.Cell Metab

Berridge MV, Dong L, Neuzil J (2015) Mitochondrial DNA in tumor initiation, progression and metastasis: role of horizontal mtDNA transfer.Cancer Res

Berridge MV, Grasso C, Neuzil J (2015) Mitochondrial genome transfer to tumour cells breaks the rules and establishes a new precedent in cancer biology. Mol Cell Oncol

Tan AS, Baty JW, Dong LF, Bezawork-Gelata A, Endaya B, Goodwin J, Bajzikova M, Kovarova J, Peterka M; Yan B, Pesdar EA, Sobol M, Filimonenko A, Stuart S, Vondrusova M, Kluckova K; Sachaphibulkij K, Rohlena J, Hozak P, Truska J, Eccles D, Haupt L, Griffiths L, Neuzil J, BerridgeMV (2015) Mitochondrial Genome Acquisition Restores Respiratory Function and Tumorigenic Potential of Cancer Cells without Mitochondrial DNA. Cell Metabolism.

Berridge MV, Dong L, Neuzil J. (2015)  Mitochondrial DNA in tumour initiation, progression and metastasis: role of horizontal mtDNA transfer. Cancer Research (Invited Review accepted for publication).


Tan AS, Baty JW, Berridge MV (2014) The role of mitochondrial electron transport in tumorigenesis and metastasis. Biochim Biophys Acta


Herst PM, Berridge MV (2013) Cell hierarchy, metabolic flexibility and systems approaches to cancer treatment. Curr Pharm Biotechnol

Grasso C, Larsen L, McConnell M, Smith RA, Berridge MV (2013) Anti-leukemic activity of ubiquinone-based compounds targeting trans-plasma membrane electron transport.J Med Chem


Matilainen H, Yu XW, Tang CW, Berridge MV, McConnell MJ (2012) Sphere formation reverses the metastatic and cancer stem cell phenotype of the murine mammary tumour 4T1, independently of the putative cancer stem cell marker Sca-1. Cancer Lett, 323:20-8

Meyer KJ, Singh AJ, Cameron A, Tan AS, Leahy DC, O'Sullivan D, Joshi P, La Flamme AC, Northcote PT, Berridge MV, Miller JH (2012) Mitochondrial genome-knockout cells demonstrate a dual mechanism of action for the electron transport complex I inhibitor mycothiazole. Mar Drugs, 10:900-17


Broadley K, Larsen L, Herst PM, Smith RA, Berridge MV, McConnell MJ (2011) The novel phloroglucinol PMT7 kills glycolytic cancer cells by blocking autophagy and sensitizing to nutrient stress. J Cell Biochem, 112:1869-79

Herst PM, Howman RA, Neeson PJ, Berridge MV, Ritchie DS (2011) The level of glycolytic metabolism in acute myeloid leukemia blasts at diagnosis is prognostic for clinical outcome. J Leukoc Biol, 89:51-5


Berridge MV, Herst PM, Tan AS (2010) Metabolic flexibility and cell hierarchy in metastatic cancer. Mitochondrion, 10:584-8

Berridge MV, Tan AS (2010) Effects of mitochondrial gene deletion on tumorigenicity of metastatic melanoma: reassessing the Warburg effect. Rejuvenation Res, 13:139-41

Mulchin BJ, Newton CG, Baty JW, Grasso CH, Martin WJ, Walton MC, Dangerfield EM, Plunkett CH, Berridge MV, Harper JL, Timmer MS, Stocker BL (2010) The anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and tuberculostatic activities of a series of 6,7-substituted-5,8-quinolinequinones. Bioorg Med Chem, 18:3238-51

Prata C, Grasso C, Loizzo S, Sega FV, Caliceti C, Zambonin L, Fiorentini D, Hakim G, Berridge MV, Landi L (2010) Inhibition of trans-plasma membrane electron transport: A potential anti-leukemic strategy. Leuk Res, 34:1630-5

Tan AS, Berridge MV (2010) Evidence for NAD(P)H quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1)-mediated quinone-dependent redox cycling via plasma membrane electron transport: A sensitive cellular assay for NQO1.  Free Radic Biol Med. 48:421-9. Corrigendium, 48:978


Appleton DR, Chuen CS, Berridge MV, Webb VL, Copp BR (2009) Rossinones A and B, biologically active meroterpenoids from the Antarctic ascidian, Aplidium species. J Org Chem, 74:9195-8

Berridge MV, Herst PM, Lawen A (2009) Targeting mitochondrial permeability in cancer drug development. Mol Nutr Food Res, 53:76-86

Berridge MV, Morre DJ (2009) Plasma membrane redox and cancer drug development. Preface. Biofactors 34:181-2

Herst PM, Davis JE, Neeson P, Berridge MV, Ritchie DS (2009) The anti-cancer drug, phenoxodiol, kills primary myeloid and lymphoid leukemic blasts and rapidly proliferating T cells. Haematologica 94:928-34

Tan AS, Berridge MV (2009) Differential effects of redox-cycling and arylating quinones on trans-plasma membrane electron transport. Biofactors 34:183-90


Andreani A, Burnelli S, Granaiola M, Leoni A, Locatelli A, Morigi R, Rambaldi M, Varoli L, Landi L, Prata C, Berridge MV, Grasso C, Fiebig H-H, Kelter G, Burger AM, Kunkel MW (2008) Antitumor activity of bis-indole derivatives. J Med Chem, 51:4563-70

Chia EW, Pearce AN, Berridge MV, Larsen L, Perry NB, Sansom CE, Godfrey CA, Hanton LR, Lu G-L, Walton M, Webb VL, Copp BR, Harper JL (2008) Synthesis and anti-inflammatory structure-activity relationships of thiazine-quinoline-quinones: inhibitors of the neutrophil respiratory burst in a model of acute gouty arthritis. Bioorg Med Chem, 16:9432-42

Herst PM, Hesketh EL, Ritchie DS, Berridge MV (2008) Glycolytic metabolism confers resistance to combined all-trans retinoic acid and arsenic trioxide-induced apoptosis in HL60rho0 cells. Leuk Res, 32:327-33

Herst PM, Perrone GG, Dawes IW, Bircham PW, Berridge MV (2008) Plasma membrane electron transport in Saccharomyces cerevisiae depends on the presence of mitochondrial respiratory subunits. FEMS Yeast Res 8:897-905

Pearce AN, Chia EW, Berridge MV, Maas EW, Page MJ, Harper JL, Webb VL, Copp BR (2008) Orthidines A - E, tubastrine, 3,4-dimethoxyphenethyl-b-guanidine and 1,14-sperminedihomovanillamide: potential anti-inflammatory alkaloids isolated from the New Zealand ascidian Aplidium orthium that act as inhibitors of neutrophil respiratory burst. Tetrahedron 64:5748-55


Herst PM, Berridge MV (2007) Cell surface oxygen consumption: a major contributor to cellular oxygen consumption in glycolytic cancer cell lines. Biochim Biophys Acta, 1767:170-7

Herst PM, Petersen T, Jerram P, Baty J, Berridge MV (2007) The antiproliferative effects of phenoxodiol are associated with inhibition of plasma membrane electron transport in tumour cell lines and primary immune cells. Biochem Pharmacol, 74:1587-95

McConnell MJ, Licht JD (2007) The PLZF Gene of t(11;17)-associated APL. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol, 313:31-48 

Pearce AN, Berridge MV, Harper JL, Maas EW, Perry NB, Webb VL, Copp BR (2007) Anti-inflammatory agents from New Zealand marine organisms. Chem NZ, 71:47-9 

Pearce AN, Chia EW, Berridge MV, Clark GR, Harper JL, Larsen L, Maas EW, Page MJ, Perry NB, Webb VL, Copp BR (2007) Anti-inflammatory thiazine alkaloids isolated from the New Zealand ascidian Aplidium sp.: inhibitors of the neutrophil respiratory burst in a model of gouty arthritis. J Nat Prod, 70:936-40

Pearce AN, Chia EW, Berridge MV, Maas EW, Page MJ, Webb VL, Harper JL, Copp BR (2007) E/Z-rubrolide O, an anti-inflammatory halogenated furanone from the New Zealand ascidian Synoicum n sp. J Nat Prod 70:111-3

Rish KR, Swartzlander R, Sadikot TN, Berridge MV, Smith A (2007) Interaction of heme and heme-hemopexin with an extracellular oxidant system used to measure cell growth-associated plasma membrane electron transport. Biochim Biophys Acta, 1767:1107-17

Sansom CE, Larsen L, Perry NB, Berridge MV, Chia EW, Harper JL, Webb VL (2007) An anti-proliferative bis-prenylated quinone from the New Zealand brown alga Perithalia capillaris. J Nat Prod, 70:2042-4 


Copp BR, Pearce AN, Denny WA, Berridge MV, Harper JL, Perry NB, Larsen L, Godfrey CA (2006) "Anti-inflammatory compounds" Patent PCT/NZ2005/000246, published as WO06/031134

Herst PM, Berridge MV (2006) Plasma membrane electron transport: a new target for cancer drug development. Invited Review. Curr Mol Med, 6:895-904

Herst PM, Tan AS, Berridge MV (2006) The cell membrane as a target for cancer drug development: leukaemia cell survival and growth depends on plasma membrane electron transport (PMET). Exp Hematol, 34:67


Berridge MV, Herst PM, Tan AS (2005) Tetrazolium dyes as tools in cell biology: new insights into their cellular reduction. Biotechnol Ann Rev 11:127-52

Herst PM, Levine DM, Berridge MV (2005) Mitochondrial gene knockout HL60rho0 cells show preferential differentiation into monocytes/macrophages. Leuk Res 29:1163-70

McNamara CE, Larsen L, Perry NB, Harper JL, Berridge MV, Chia EW, Kelly M, Webb VL (2005) Anti-inflammatory sesquiterpene-quinones from the New Zealand sponge Dysidea cf.cristagalli. J Nat Prod, 68:1431-3

Scarlett D-JG, Herst PM, Berridge MV (2005) Multiple proteins with single activities or a single protein with multiple activities: the conundrum of the cell surface NADH oxidoreductase(s). Biochim Biophys Acta - Bioenerg, 1708:108-19

Berridge MV, Scarlett DJ (2004) Plasma membrane electron transport: A common theme linking inflammation, cellular defense against stress and energy metabolism. NZ BioScience, 13:14-16


Herst PM, Tan AS, Scarlett D-J, Berridge MV (2004) Cell surface oxygen consumption by mitochondrial gene-knockout cells. Biochim Biophys Acta Bioenerg, 1656:79-87

Kansara M, Berridge MV (2004) Hemopoietic cell transformation is associated with failure to down-regulate glucose uptake during the G2/M phase of the cell cycle. Exp Cell Res, 293:321-30

Kansara M, Berridge MV (2004) Oncogenes modulate cell sensitivity to apoptosis induced by glucose deprivation. Anticancer Res, 24:2503-10

Miller JH, Rouwe B, Gaitanos TN, Hood KA, Crume KP, Backstrom BT, La Flamme AC, Berridge MV, Northcote PT (2004) Peloruside A enhances apoptosis in H-ras-transformed cells and is cytotoxic to proliferating T cells. Apoptosis, 9:785-96

Scarlett DJ, Herst P, Tan A, Prata C, Berridge M (2004) Mitochondrial gene-knockout (p0) cells: A versatile model for exploring the secrets of trans-plasma membrane electron transport. BioFactors (in press)

Tan AS, Berridge MV (2004) Distinct trans-plasma membrane redox pathways reduce cell-impermeable dyes in HeLa cells. Redox Rep, 9:302-6


Keyzers RA, Northcote PT, Berridge MV, Clathriol B (2003) Clathirol B, A New 14b marine sterol from the New Zealand sponge Clathria lissosclera. Aust J Chem, 56:279-82


Appleton DR, Page MJ, Lambert G, Berridge MV, Copp BR. (2002) Kottamides A-D: A novel bioactive imidazolone-containing alkaloids from the New Zealand ascidian Pycnoclavella kottae. J Org Chem, 67:5402-4

Appleton DR, Sewell MA, Berridge MV, Copp BR (2002) A new biologically active malyngamide from a New Zealand collection of the sea hare Bursatella leachii. J Nat Prod, 65:630-31

Hood KA, West LM, Rouwe B, Northcote PT, Berridge MV, Wakefield StJ, Miller JH (2002) Peloruside A, a novel antimitotic agent with paclitaxel-like microtubule-stabilizing activity. Cancer Res, 62:3356-60


Hood KA, Backstrom BT, West LM, Northcote PT, Berridge MV, Miller JH (2001) The novel cytotoxic sponge metabolite peloruside A, structurally similar to bryostatin-1, has unique bioactivity independent of protein kinase C. Anticancer Drug Des, 16:155-66

Hood KA, West LM, Northcote PT, Berridge MV, Miller JH (2001) Induction of apoptosis by the marine sponge (Mycale) metabolites, mycalamide A and pateamine. Apoptosis, 6:207-19


Ahmed N, Berridge MV (2000) Ceramides that mediate apoptosis reduce glucose uptake and transporter affinity for glucose decreases in human leukaemic cell lines but not in neutrophils. Pharmacol Toxicol, 86:114-21

Berridge MV, Tan AS (2000) High-capacity redox control at the plasma membrane of mammalian cells: trans-plasma membrane, cell surface and serum NADH-oxidases. Forum Review Article, Antiox Redox Signal, 2:231-42

Berridge MV, Tan AS (2000) Cell surface NAD(P)H-oxidase: relationship to trans-plasma membrane NADH-oxidoreductase and a potential source of circulating NADH-oxidase. Antiox Redox Signal, 2:277-88

Berridge MV, Ofman D, Pryor K, Robertson A, Slim GC, Tan AS (2000) Anti-inflammatory polysaccharides of the New Zealand green lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus). Glycobiology

Tan AS, Berridge MV (2000) Superoxide produced by activated neutrophils efficiently reduces the tetrazolium salt, WST-1 to produce a soluble formazan: a simple colorimetric assay for measuring respiratory burst activation and for screening anti-inflammatory agents. J Immunol Methods, 238:59-68


Ahmed N, Anderson SM, Berridge MV (1999) Interleukin-3 induces apoptosis in a ras-transformed myeloid cell line. Apoptosis, 4:71-80

Ahmed N, Berridge MV (1999) Distinct regulation of glucose transport by interleukin-3 and oncogenes in a murine bone marrow-derived cell line. Biochem Pharmacol, 57:387-96

Ahmed N, Berridge MV (1999) N-glycosylation of glucose transporter-1 (Glut-1) is associated with increased transporter affinity for glucose in human leukemic cells. Leuk Res, 23:395-401


Ahmed N, Berridge M (1998) Transforming oncogenes regulate glucose transport by increasing transporter affinity for glucose: contrasting effects of oncogenes and heat stress in a murine bone marrow-derived cell line. Life Sci, 63:1887-1903

Berridge M, Tan A (1998) Trans-plasma membrane electron transport: a cellular assay for NADH and NADPH-oxidase based on extracellular, superoxide-mediated reduction of the sulfonated tetrazolium salt WST-1. Protoplasma, 205:74-82

Tan AS, Ahmed N, Berridge MV (1998) Acute regulation of glucose transport after activation of human peripheral blood neutrophils by phorbol myristate acetate, fMLP, and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor. Blood, 91:649-55


Ahmed N, Berridge MV (1997) Regulation of glucose transport by interleukin-3 in growth factor-dependent and oncogene-transformed bone marrow-derived cell lines. Leuk Res, 21:609-18

Ahmed N, Kansara M, Berridge MV (1997) Acute regulation of glucose transport in a monocyte-macrophage cell line: Glut-3 affinity for glucose is enhanced during the respiratory burst. Biochem J. 327:369-75

McCoy KD, Ahmed N, Tan AS, Berridge MV (1997) The hemopoietic growth factor, interleukin-3, promotes glucose transport by increasing the specific activity and maintaining the affinity for glucose of plasma membrane glucose transporters. J Biol Chem, 272:17276-82


Berridge MV, Tan AS, McCoy KD, Kansara M, Rudert F (1996) CD95 (Fas/Apo-1)-induced apoptosis results in loss of glucose transporter function. J Immunol, 156:4092-9


Berridge MV, Horsfield JA, Tan AS (1995) Evidence that cell survival is controlled by interleukin-3 independently of cell proliferation. J Cell Physiol, 163:466-76

Berridge MV, Tan AS (1995) Interleukin-3 facilitates glucose transport in a myeloid cell line by regulating the affinity of the glucose transporter for glucose: involvement of protein phosphorylation in transporter activation. Biochem J, 305:843-51

Hilton CJ, Berridge MV (1995) Conserved region of the cytoplasmic domain is not essential for erythropoietin-dependent growth. Growth Factors, 12:263-76


Berridge MV, Tan AS (1993) Characterization of the cellular reduction of 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT): subcellular localization, substrate dependence, and involvement of mitochondrial electron transport in MTT reduction. Arch Biochem Biophys, 303:474-82

Berridge MV, Tan AS, Hilton CJ (1993) Cyclic adenosine monophosphate promotes cell survival and retards apoptosis in a factor-dependent bone marrow-derived cell line. Exp Hematol, 21:269-76


Berridge MV, Tan AS (1992) The protein kinase C inhibitor, calphostin C, inhibits succinate-dependent mitochondrial reduction of MTT by a mechanism that does not involve protein kinase C. Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 185:806-11


Dempster RP, Berridge MV, Harrison GB, Heath DD (1991) Echinococcus granulosus: development of an intermediate host mouse model for use in vaccination studies. Int J Parasitol, 21:549-54


Berridge MV, Fraser JK (1989) On the quest for lineage specific markers for the diagnosis of megakaryoblastic leukemia. Blood Cells. 15:278-83

Research stories

Professor Mike Berridge awarded the 2016 Liley Medal

Professor Mike Berridge has been awarded the distinguished Liley Medal from the Healt...

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