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

Image of Michael Kanost, Ph.D.

Contact information

Office: 63 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

Research video

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

Shan, T., Wang, Y., Dittmer, N.T., Kanost, M.R. and Jiang, H. (2022) Serine protease networks mediate immune responses in extra-embryonic tissues of eggs in the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta. Journal of Innate Immunity. https://doi.org/10.1159/000527974

Dittmer, N.T., Hiromasa, Y., and Kanost,M.R. (2022) Proteomic analysis of pharate pupal molting fluid from the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 149, 103844. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ibmb.2022.103844

Scalet, J.M., Sprouse, P.A., Schroeder, J.D., Dittmer, N.T., Kramer, K.J., Kanost, M.R. and Gehrke, S.H. (2022) Temporal changes in the physical and mechanical properties of beetle elytra during maturation. Acta Biomaterialia, S1742-7061(22)00461-5. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actbio.2022.07.059

Wang, Y., Kanost, M.R. and Jiang, H. (2022) A mechanistic analysis of bacterial recognition and serine protease cascade initiation in larval hemolymph of Manduca sexta. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. 148, 103818. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ibmb.2022.103818

Nishiko, M., Sakamoto, T., Mun, S., Noh, M.Y., Arakane, Y., Kanost, M.R., Arai, K., and Tabunoki, H. (2022) Superoxide dismutase 6 is required during metamorphosis for the development of properly movable legs in Tribolium castaneum. Scientific Reports,12, 6900 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-10166-3

Weber, J.J., Brummett, L.M., Coca, M.E., Tabunoki, H., Kanost, M.R., Park, Y., and Gorman, M.J. (2022) Phenotypic analyses, protein localization, and bacteriostatic activity of Drosophila melanogaster transferrin-1. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 147, 103811. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ibmb.2022.103811

Sasaki, S., Nishiko, M., Sakamoto, T., Kanost, M.R., and Tabunoki, H. (2021) cDNA Cloning and partial characterization of the DJ-1 gene from Tribolium castaneum. Antioxidants 10(12):1970. doi: 10.3390/antiox10121970.

Najera, D.G., Dittmer, N.T., Weber, J.J., Kanost, M.R. and Gorman, M.J. (2021) Phylogenetic and sequence analyses of insect transferrins suggest that only transferrin 1 has a role in iron homeostasis. Insect Science 28, 495-508.

Weber, J.J., Kashipathy, M.M., Battaile, K.P., Go, E., Desaire, H., Kanost, M.R., Lovell, S., and Gorman, M.J. (2021) Structural insight into the novel iron-coordination and domain interactions of transferrin-1 from a model insect, Manduca sexta. Protein Science. 30, 408-422. DOI: 10.1002/pro.3999

Cao, X., Wang, Y., Rogers, J., Hartson, S., Kanost, M.R., and Jiang, H. (2020) Changes in composition and levels of hemolymph proteins during metamorphosis of Manduca sexta. Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 127, 103489.

Weber, J.J., Kanost, M.R., and Gorman, M.J. (2020) Iron binding and release properties of transferrin-1 from Drosophila melanogaster and Manduca sexta: implications for insect iron homeostasis. Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 25:103438. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2020.103438

Wang Y., Yang, F., Cao, X., Zou, Z., Lu, Z., Kanost, M.R., Jiang, H. (2020) Hemolymph protease-5 links the melanization and Toll immune pathways in the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci USA,117: 23581-23587. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2004761117

Li, M., Takahashi, D., and Kanost, M.R. (2020) Peptides based on the reactive center loop of Manduca sexta serpin-3 block its protease inhibitory function. Scientific Reports 13;10(1):11497. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-68316-4

Wang, Y., Yang, F., Cao, H., Huang, R., Paskewitz, S., Hartson, S.D., Kanost, M.R., and Jiang, H. (2020) Inhibition of immune pathway-initiating hemolymph protease-14 by Manduca sexta serpin-12, a conserved mechanism for the regulation of melanization and Toll activation in insects. Insect Biochem. Molec. Biol. 16, 103261 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ibmb.2019.103261

Complete Publications List