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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics

Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics
141 Chalmers Hall
1711 Claflin Rd.
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.Dr. Michael Kanost discussing a research poster with students.

Research Video

Contact information

Office: 64 Chalmers Hall
Phone: 785-532-6964
Fax: 785-532-7278
E-mail: kanost@ksu.edu
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 antimicrobial 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 coordinated the annotation of the recently sequenced genome of the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta.

Selected publications

Al Souhail, Q., Hiromasa, Y., Rahnamaeian, M., Giraldo, M.C., Takahashi, D., Valent, B., Vilcinskas, A., and Kanost, M.R. (2016) Characterization and regulation of expression of an antifungal peptide from hemolymph of an insect, Manduca sexta. Dev. Comp. Immunol. 61, 258-268.

Takahashi, D., Garcia, B., and Kanost, M.R. (2015) An initiating protease with modular domains interacts with ß-glucan recognition protein to trigger innate immune response in insects. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. 112, 13856-13861.

Kanost, M.R. and Jiang, H. (2015) Clip-domain serine proteases as immune factors in insect hemolymph. Current Opinion in Insect Science. 11, 47-55.

Mun, S., Noh, M., Dittmer, N.T., Muthukrishnan, S., Kramer, K.J., Kanost, M.R., and Arakane Y. (2015) Cuticular protein with a low complexity sequence becomes cross-linked during insect cuticle sclerotization and is required for the adult molt. Sci. Rep. 5, 10484; doi: 10.1038/srep10484

Zhang, X., Meekins, D.A., An, C., Zolkiewski, M., Battaile, K.P., Kanost, M.R., Lovell, S., and Michel, K., (2015) Structural and inhibitory effects of hinge loop mutagenesis in serpin-2 from the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae. J. Biol. Chem. 290, 2946-2956.

Dittmer, N.T., Tetreau, G., Cao, X., Jiang, H., Wang, P., and Kanost, M.R. (2015) Annotation and expression analysis of cuticular proteins from the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta. Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 62, 100-113. doi:10.1016/j.ibmb.2014.12.010

Zhang, X., He, Y., Cao, X., Gunaratna, R.T., Chen, Y.R., Blissard, G., Kanost, M.R., and Jiang, H. (2015) Phylogenetic analysis and expression profiling of the pattern recognition receptors: Insights into molecular recognition of invading pathogens in Manduca sexta. Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 62, 38-50.

He, Y., Cao, X., Li, K., Hu, Y., Chen, Y., Blissard, G., Kanost, M.R. and Jiang, H. (2015) A genome-wide analysis of antimicrobial effector genes and their transcriptional regulation in Manduca sexta. Insect Biochem. Mol Biol. 62, 23-37.

Cao, X., He, Y., Hu, Y., Zhang, X., Wang, Y., Zou, Z., Chen, Y., Blissard, G.W., Kanost, M.R. and Jiang, H. (2015) Sequence conservation, phylogenetic relationships, and expression profiles of nondigestive serine proteases and serine protease homologs in Manduca sexta. Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 62, 51-63. doi:10.1016/j.ibmb.2014.10.006

Peng, Z., Dittmer, N.T., Lang, M., Brummett, L.M., Braun, C.L., Davis, L.C., Kanost, M.R., and Gorman, M.J. (2015) Multicopper oxidase-1 orthologs from diverse insect species have ascorbate oxidase activity. Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 59, 58-71.

Noh, M., Kramer, K.J., Muthukrishnan, S., Beeman, R.W., Kanost, M.R. and Arakane, Y., (2015) Loss of function of the yellow-e gene causes dehydration-induced mortality of adult Tribolium castaneum. Dev. Biol. 399, 215-324.

Noh, M.Y., Kramer, K.J., Muthukrishnan, S., Kanost, M.R., Beeman, R.W., and Arakane, Y. (2014) Two major cuticular proteins are required for assembly of horizontal laminae and vertical pore canals in rigid cuticle of Tribolium castaneum. Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 53, 22-29.

Peng, Z., Green, P.G., Kanost, M.R., and Gorman, M.J. (2014) A multicopper oxidase-related protein plays a role in insect molting, life span and ovary development. PloS ONE, 9(10): e111344.

Takahashi, D., Dai, H., Hiromasa, Y., Krishnamoorthi, R., and Kanost, M.R. (2014) Self-association of an insect β-1,3 glucan recognition protein upon binding laminarin stimulates prophenoloxidase activation as an innate immune response.J. Biol. Chem. 289:28399-28410

View complete publications list