Associate Professor Shaun Lott

BSc (Hons), PhD

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Associate Professor


Educational qualifications

1994        University of Leeds, UK, PhD, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
1990        University of Surrey, UK, BSc (1st Class Honours), Biochemistry

Research | Current

Research interests

I am interested in using structural analysis and a range of biochemical and biophysical tools to address important biological systems. Current projects in the lab include:

ABC toxins

These toxins are composed of three core subunits (A, B and C) and are best characterised from insect pathogens such as Yersinia entomophaga. Jason Busby has determined the first structure of the BC sub-complex, work that was recently published in Nature (Busby et al. 2013). Together with the structure of the A subunit previously determined by electron microscopy (Landsberg et al. 2011) and the structures of the associated chitinase enzymes (Busby et al. 2012), this gives us the first complete picture of this class of toxin. We are now working to produce engineered versions of the complex. This is a collaboration with Mark Hurst at AgResearch and Michael Landsberg at the University of Queensland.


Non-ribosomal peptides synthases

Non-ribosomal peptide synthases (NRPSs) are large modular enzymes that produce an extensive range of secondary metabolites in bacteria and fungi. Verne Lee determined the structure of an adenylation domain from the endophytic fungus Neotyphodium lolii, the first fungal structure to be determined (Lee et al. 2010). He is now investigating the structure and function of the first archaeal NRPS enzyme to be identified.

Proteins from Mycobacterium tuberculosis known to be essential for pathogenesis

Tryptophan biosynthesis

The tryptophan biosynthetic pathway is essential for M. tuberculosis to cause disease, and may also have a role in the interaction of the bacterium with the host immune system. We have determined the structures of the enzymes that catalyse the first two steps in tryptophan biosynthesis, and have developed inhibitors against them (Castell et al. 2013). This work has been carried out by Dr Genevieve Evans in collaboration with Prof Bill Denny.

The regulation of cholesterol metabolism

We are also working on the regulation of cholesterol metabolism by the transcriptional regulators KstR and KstR2. This work is an ongoing collaboration with Sharon Kendall at the Royal Veterinary College in London and Lindsay Eltis at the University of British Columbia.



Teaching | Current

  • BIOSCI106
  • BIOSCI203
  • BIOSCI350
  • BIOSCI737


  • Recipient of 2006 Queenstown Molecular Biology/Invitrogen Life Science Award

Areas of expertise

  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Bioinformatics
  • Bacterial pathogenesis

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Upadhyay, A., Kumar, S., Rooker, S. A., Koehn, J. T., Crans, D. C., McNeil, M. R., ... Crick, D. C. (2018). Mycobacterial MenJ: An Oxidoreductase Involved in Menaquinone Biosynthesis. ACS chemical biology, 13 (9), 2498-2507. 10.1021/acschembio.8b00402
  • Healy, M. D., Hospenthal, M. K., Hall, R. J., Chandra, M., Chilton, M., Tillu, V., ... Cullen, P. J. (2018). Structural insights into the architecture and membrane interactions of the conserved COMMD proteins. eLife, 7.10.7554/elife.35898


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 4, Room 4010
New Zealand

Web links