Dr Ghader Bashiri


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Senior Research Fellow

Research | Current

My research investigates the molecular basis of complex biological mechanisms with themes in microbial biochemistry, physiology and pathogenesis. I use a multidisciplinary approach and seek to use the latest state-of-the-art methods in molecular/structural biology, biochemistry, computational biology, microbial infection models, and synthetic chemistry. A major focus of my research is on novel metabolic targets for fighting pathogenic bacteria, to understand their mechanism of action, and to combat the worldwide issues of microbial persistence and resistance. My major research strands are outlined below. 

Coenzyme F420 metabolism. F420 plays an essential role in the metabolism of Archaea and certain bacteria through acting as a hydride transfer agent. Over the last ~12 years, my research has been directed towards understanding the role of the F420 biosynthetic and metabolic pathways in bacterial biochemistry and physiology. As a breakthrough in the field, we have recently demonstrated that the current view of the F420 biosynthesis pathway in bacteria is not correct and have instead proposed a revised pathway. We currently investigate the role coenzyme F420 plays in M. tuberculosis pathogenesis and persistence. 


For more information see:

Bashiri G, Antoney J, Jirgis ENM, Ney B, Sreebhavan S, Palmer B, Middleditch M, Greening C, Baker EN, Scott C and C Jackson (2019) A revised biosynthetic pathway for the cofactor F420 in prokaryotesNature Communications 10: 1558 

Bashiri G, Rehan AM, Sreebhavan S, Baker HM, Baker EN and CJ Squire (2016) Elongation of the poly-γ-glutamate tail of F420 requires both domains of the F420:γ-glutamyl ligase (FbiB) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. J. Biol. Chem.291:6882-6894.

Oyugi M, Bashiri G, Baker EN and K Johnson-Winters (2016) Investigating the reaction mechanism of F420-dependent glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase from Mycobacterium tuberculosis: kinetic analysis of the wild-type and mutant enzymes. Biochemistry.55:5566-5577. 


Check out our collaborators: 

Associate Professor Colin Jackson, Australian National University

Dr Chris Greening, Monash University, Australia 

Assistant Professor Kayunta Johnson-Winters, University of Texas at Arlington, USA



(Bio)synthesis of natural productsOur research on coenzyme F420 has led to the discovery that this cofactor plays a key role in secondary metabolism of bacteria. We have so far identified two groups of antibiotics whose biosynthesis we have identified as requiring F420; tetracyclines and thiopeptides. We are currently investigating biosynthesis of a wide range of natural products, as well as developing a novel chemoenzymatic platform to produce them in the laboratory.  


For more information see:

Ichikawa H, Bashiri G and WL Kelly (2018) Biosynthesis of the thiopeptins and identification of an F420H2‑dependent dehydropiperidine reductase. J. Am. Chem. Soc.140:10749-10756. 

Wang P, Bashiri G, Gao X, Sawaya MR and Y Tang (2013) Uncovering the enzymes that catalyze the final steps in oxytetracycline biosynthesis. J. Am. Chem. Soc.135(19):7138-7141.


Check out our collaborators: 

Associate Professor Wendy Kelly, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA

Professor Meifeng Tao, Shanghai Jiao Tong University,China

Professor Margaret Brimble, University of Auckland



Menaquinone metabolism. Menaquinone is the only electron carrier in the respiratory chain of mycobacteria. We have determined a series of crystal structures, at each step of the catalytic cycle, of the enzyme (MenD) that catalyses the committed step reaction of the menaquinone biosynthesis pathway in M. tuberculosis. We now use MenD as a model system to investigate the fundamentals of internal communication within proteins. In addition, we are actively pursuing a structure-based drug discovery approach to target MenD with the ultimate goal of developing a new generation of anti-TB agents. 


For more information see:

Jirgis ENM, Bashiri G, Bulloch EMM, Johnston JM and EN Baker (2016) Structural viewsalong the Mycobacterium tuberculosis MenD reaction pathway illuminate key aspects of thiamin diphosphate-dependent enzyme mechanisms. Structure. 24:1167-1177 (cover illustration)


Check out our collaborators: 

Dr Jodie Johnston, University of Canterbury 

Dr Wanting Jiao, Ferrier Research Institute, Victoria University of Wellington 

Dr Daniel Furkert, University of Auckland 



Isocitrate lyases in mycobacterial metabolism. Isocitrate lyase (ICL) isoforms 1 and 2 enable M. tuberculosis to preferentially use lipids as its carbon source, a metabolic feature that is crucial for chronic infection. We investigate the unique feature of ICL2 in regulating carbon flux between the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) and glyoxylate cycles at high lipid concentrations. We are pursuing this through structural and mechanistic studies of ICLs, with the ultimate aim of developing inhibitors against both ICL isoforms as potential antitubercular agents. 


For more information see:

Bhusal RP, Bashiri G, Kwai B, Sperry J and IKH Leung (2017) Targeting isocitrate lyase for the treatments of latent tuberculosis. Drug Discov. Today.22:1008-1016

Bhusal RP, Patel K, Kwai BXC, Swartjes A, Bashiri G, Reynisson J, Sperry J and IKH Leung (2017) Development of NMR and thermal shift assays for the evaluation of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isocitrate lyase inhibitors. MedChemComm.8:2155-2163 


Check out our collaborators: 

Dr Ivanhoe Leung, University of Auckland

Associate Professor Jonathan Sperry, University of Auckland


Teaching | Current

BioSci 204: Principles of Microbiology 

BioSci 757: Structural Biology 

Postgraduate supervision

Please have a look on findathesis for available post-graduate projects. Alternatively, send me an email directly!


Sir Charles Hercus Fellow (Health Research Council of New Zealand) 

Areas of expertise

Molecular and structural biology, biochemistry, microbial metabolism 

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Bashiri, G., Antoney, J., Jirgis, E. N. M., Shah, M. V., Ney, B., Copp, J., ... Middleditch, M. (2019). A revised biosynthetic pathway for the cofactor F420 in prokaryotes. Nature communications, 10 (1)10.1038/s41467-019-09534-x
  • Ichikawa, H., Bashiri, G., & Kelly, W. L. (2018). Biosynthesis of the Thiopeptins and Identification of an F420H2-Dependent Dehydropiperidine Reductase. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 140 (34), 10749-10756. 10.1021/jacs.8b04238
  • Oyugi, M. A., Bashiri, G., Baker, E. N., & Johnson-Winters, K. (2016). Investigating the reaction mechanism of F₄₂₀-dependent glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase from Mycobacterium tuberculosis: Kinetic analysis of the wild-type and mutant enzymes. Biochemistry, 55 (39), 5566-5577. 10.1021/acs.biochem.6b00638
  • Jirgis, E. N. M., Bashiri, G., Bulloch, E. M. M., Johnston, J. M., & Baker, E. N. (2016). Structural views along the Mycobacterium tuberculosis MenD reaction pathway illuminate key aspects of thiamin diphosphate-dependent enzyme mechanisms. Structure, 24 (7), 1167-1177. 10.1016/j.str.2016.04.018
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jodie Johnston, Esther Bulloch
  • Bashiri, G., Rehan, A. M., Sreebhavan, S., Baker, H. M., Baker, E. N., & Squire, C. J. (2016). Elongation of the poly-γ-glutamate tail of F₄₂₀ requires both domains of the F₄₂₀:γ-glutamyl ligase (FbiB) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 291 (13), 6882-6894. 10.1074/jbc.M115.689026
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/29806
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Christopher Squire
  • Ankisettypalli, K., Cheng, J. J. Y., Baker, E. N., & Bashiri, G. (2016). PdxH proteins of mycobacteria are typical members of the classical pyridoxine/pyridoxamine 5′-phosphate oxidase family. FEBS Letters, 590 (4), 453-460. 10.1002/1873-3468.12080
  • Bunker, R. D., Mandal, K., Bashiri, G., Chaston, J. J., Pentelute, B. L., Lott, J. S., ... Baker, E. N. (2015). A functional role of Rv1738 in Mycobacterium tuberculosis persistence suggested by racemic protein crystallography. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112 (14), 4310-4315. 10.1073/pnas.1422387112
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Shaun Lott
  • Bashiri, G., & Baker, E. N. (2015). Production of recombinant proteins in Mycobacterium smegmatis for structural and functional studies. Protein science : a publication of the Protein Society, 24 (1), 1-10. 10.1002/pro.2584

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 4, Room 472
New Zealand