Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics
141 Chalmers Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506
785-532-7278 fax

Biotechnology Core Facility
206 Burt Hall
785-532-6297 fax

Biomolecular NMR Facility
37 Chalmers Hall

Michael Kanost, Ph.D., University Distinguished Professor
Undergraduate Advisor

Image of Michael Kanost, Ph.D.

Contact information

Office: 64 Chalmers Hall
Phone: 785-532-6964
Fax: 785-532-7278
Lab website


B.S. 1979, Colorado State University
Ph.D. 1983, Purdue University

Areas of specialty

  • Insect biochemistry and molecular biology
  • Structure and function of hemolymph serine proteinases, proteinase inhibitors, and antibacterial response proteins from insects
  • Biochemistry of the insect cuticle
  • Function of insect multicopper oxidases
  • Manduca sexta genome sequence

My laboratory is investigating proteins present in the hemolymph (blood) of insects, with special interest in the proteins' functions in the insect immune system. We are studying plasma proteins, including prophenoloxidase, serine proteases, protease inhibitors from the serpin superfamily, and proteins that bind to microbial polysaccharides. The long range goal is to understand the biochemical and cellular processes by which insect immune systems recognize and respond to pathogens and parasites. We also investigate the biochemistry of cuticle proteins and their roles in determining mechanical properties of insect exoskeletons. Our laboratory is helping to coordinate the annotation of the recently sequenced genome of the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta.

Selected publications

Lang, M., Braun, C.L., Kanost, M.R. and Gorman, M.J. (2012) Multicopper oxidase-1 is a ferroxidase essential for iron homeostasis in Drosophila melanogaster. Proc. Natl. Acad Sci. 109: 13,337-13,342.

Dittmer, N.T., Hiromasa, Y., Tomich, J.M., Lu, N., Beeman, R.W., Kramer, K.J. and Kanost, M.R. (2012) Proteomic and transcriptomic analyses of rigid and membranous cuticles from the elytra and hindwings of the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum. J. Proteome Res. 11:269-278.

Arakane, Y., Lomakin, J., Gehrke, S.H., Hiromasa, Y., Tomich, J.M., Muthukrishnan, S., Beeman, R.W., Kramer, K.J., and Kanost, M.R. (2012) Formation of rigid, non-flight forewings (elytra) of a beetle requires two major cuticular proteins.PLoS Genet 8(4): e1002682. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002682

Gorman, M.J., Sullivan, L.I., Nguyen, T.D.T., Dai, H., Dittmer, N.T., Syed, L.U., Li, J., Hua, D.H., and Kanost, M.R. (2012) Kinetic properties of alternatively spliced isoforms of laccase-2 from Tribolium castaneum and Anopheles gambiae. Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 42:193-202.

Lang, M., Kanost, M.R. and Gorman, M.J. (2012) Multicopper oxidase-3 is a laccase associated with the peritrophic matrix and malpighian tubules of Anopheles gambiae. PLoS ONE 7(3):e33985. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033985.

An, C., Lovell, S., Kanost, M.R., Battaile, K.P. and Michel, K. (2011) Crystal structure of native Anopheles gambiae serpin-2, a negative regulator of melanization in mosquitoes.Proteins: Structure, Function and Bioinformatics. 79: 1999-2003.

Lomakin, J., Huber, P.A., Eichler, C., Arakane, Y., Kramer, K.J., Beeman, R.W., Kanost, M.R. and Gehrke, S.H. (2011) Mechanical properties of the beetle elytron, a biological composite material.Biomacromolecules. 12: 321-335.

An, C., Budd, A., Kanost, M.R. and Michel, K. (2011) Characterization of a regulatory unit that controls melanization and affects longevity of mosquitoes.Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 68: 1929-1939.

An, C., Ragan, E.J. and Kanost, M.R. (2011) Serpin-1 splicing isoform J inhibits the proSpätzle-activating proteinase HP8 to regulate expression of antimicrobial hemolymph proteins in Manduca sexta. Dev. Comp. Immunol. 35: 135-141.

Lomakin, J., Arakane, Y. Kramer, K.J., Beeman, R.W., Kanost, M.R. and Gehrke, S.H. (2010) Mechanical properties of elytra from Tribolium castaneum wild—type and body color mutant strains.J. Insect Physiol. 56: 1901-1906.

Dittmer, N.T. and Kanost, M.R. (2010) Insect multicopper oxidases: diversity, properties, and physiological roles.Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 40: 179-188.

An, C. and Kanost, M.R. (2010) Manduca sexta serpin-5 regulates prophenoloxidase activation and the Toll signaling pathway by inhibiting hemolymph proteinase HP6. Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 40:683-689.

Ragan, E.J. An, C., Yang, C. and Kanost, M.R. (2010) Analysis of mutually-exclusive alternatively spliced serpin-1 isoforms and identification of serpin-1 proteinase complexes in Manduca sexta hemolymph. J. Biol. Chem. 285: 29642-29650.

Suderman, R.J., Dittmer, N.D., Kramer, K.J. and Kanost, M.R. (2010) Model reactions for insect cuticle sclerotization: participation of amino groups in the cross-linking of Manduca sexta cuticle protein MsCP36.Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 40:252-258.

An, C., Jiang, H. and Kanost, M.R. (2010) Proteolytic activation and function of the cytokine Spätzle in innate immune response of a lepidopteran insect, Manduca sexta. FEBS J. 277: 148–162.

An, C., Ishibashi, J., Ragan, E.J., Jiang, H. and Kanost, M.R. (2009) Functions of Manduca sexta hemolymph proteinases HP6 and HP8 in two innate immune pathways.J. Biol. Chem. 284: 19716-19726.

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