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 in agriculture and human health. Current projects in the lab fall into three main groups:

Proteins of agricultural importancestructure1_600px

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 was is a collaboration with Mark Hurst at AgResearch and Michael Landsberg at the University of Queensland.




Non-ribosomal peptides synthasesstructure2_600px

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 biosynthesisstructure3_400px

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.


Siderophore biosynthesisstructure4_600px

M. tuberculosis scavenges iron from its host using the siderophore mycobactin. The first step in mycobactin synthesis is the production of salycilate. We have determined the structure of salycilate synthase (MbtI) and have developed some inhibitors of the enzyme is collaboration with Dr Richard Payne (Chi et al. 2012).


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.


Proteins that regulate the human epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) - the primary point of regulation for blood pressure

WW-containing E3 ubiquitin ligasesstructure5_600px

The cell surface expression of the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) is regulated by ubiquitylation vis the ubiquitin ligases Nedd4 and Nedd4-2. We have investigated the interaction of the WW domains of Nedd4 with the target peptides in ENaC, using SPR (Lott et al. 2002) and NMR analysis (Bobby et al. 2013).


We are also working on the structure and function of COMMD proteins. This work is an ongoing collaboration with Fiona McDonald and Ezra Burstein.

Teaching | Current

  • BIOSCI203
  • BIOSCI737
  • BIOINF301
  • BIOINF701
  • BIOINF702


  • 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)

  • Rechiche, O., Plowman, J. E., Harland, D. P., Lee, T. V., & Lott, J. S. (2018). Expression and purification of high sulfur and high glycine-tyrosine keratin-associated proteins (KAPs) for biochemical and biophysical characterization. Protein Expr Purif10.1016/j.pep.2017.12.006
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Othman RECHICHE
  • Evans, G. L., Furkert, D. P., Abermil, N., Kundu, P., de Lange, K. M., Parker, E. J., ... Lott, J. S. (2017). Datasets, processing and refinement details for Mtb-AnPRT: inhibitor structures with various space groups. Data in brief, 15, 1019-1029. 10.1016/j.dib.2017.10.051
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Daniel Furkert, Edward Baker
  • Evans, G. L., Furkert, D. P., Abermil, N., Kundu, P., de Lange, K. M., Parker, E. J., ... Shaun Lott, J. (2017). Anthranilate phosphoribosyltransferase: Binding determinants for 5'-phospho-alpha-d-ribosyl-1'-pyrophosphate (PRPP) and the implications for inhibitor design. Biochimica et biophysica acta10.1016/j.bbapap.2017.08.018
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Daniel Furkert, Edward Baker
  • Gerth, M. L., Liu, Y., Jiao, W., Zhang, X.-X., Baker, E. N., Lott, J. S., ... Johnston, J. M. (2017). Crystal structure of a bicupin protein HutD involved in histidine utilization in Pseudomonas. Proteins, 85 (8), 1580-1588. 10.1002/prot.25303
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jodie Johnston, Edward Baker
  • Lott, J. S., & Lee, T. V. (2017). Revealing the Inter-Module Interactions of Multi-Modular Nonribosomal Peptide Synthetases. Structure (London, England : 1993), 25 (5), 693-695. 10.1016/j.str.2017.04.003
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Verne Lee
  • Lott, J. S. (2017). Tryptophan Biosynthesis in Bacteria: Drug Targets and Immunology. In D'Mello JPF (Ed.) (pp. 267-276). CABI PUBLISHING-C A B INT.
  • Ho, N. A. T., Dawes, S. S., Crowe, A. M., Casabon, I., Gao, C., Kendall, S. L., ... Lott, J. S. (2016). The Structure of the Transcriptional Repressor KstR in Complex with CoA Thioester Cholesterol Metabolites Sheds Light on the Regulation of Cholesterol Catabolism in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The Journal of biological chemistry, 291 (14), 7256-7266. 10.1074/jbc.m115.707760
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Stephanie Dawes, Edward Baker
  • Busby, J. N., Lott, J. S., & Panjikar, S. (2016). Combining cross-crystal averaging and MRSAD to phase a 4354-amino-acid structure. Acta crystallographica. Section D, Structural biology, 72 (Pt 2), 182-191. 10.1107/s2059798315023566
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jason Busby


Contact details

Primary location

Level 4, Room 424B
New Zealand

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