Kathy A. Suprenant, Ph.D.

Vault Researchers Worldwide

Kathy A. Suprenant, Ph.D.

Professor of Molecular Biosciences
University of Kansas
Lawrence, Kansas

Email: ksupre@ukans.edu


Dr. Suprenant obtained an interdisciplinary bachelor's degree in biophysics from the State University of New York at Albany, in 1977. Warmer weather sent her south to the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, where she studied in the laboratory of Dr. Lenny Rebhun and received a Ph.D. in Biology in 1982. More sunshine and better wine drove her west to California for her post-doctoral training in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of California at Santa Barbara. While working in the laboratories of Drs. Les Wilson and John Carbon, she studied the interaction of centromere-binding proteins with yeast microtubules. She continued her post-doctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. William Dentler at the Center for Biomedical Research at the University of Kansas where she examined the interaction of microtubules with capping structures in the protozoan, Tetrahymena. In 1985, she joined the faculty of the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, a department that recently morphed through a series of mergers into the Department of Molecular Biosciences.

Dr. Suprenant become interested in vaults when they were identified in embryonic polyribosome-microtubule preparations. These sea urchin microtubule preparations are also enriched in specific mRNAs and poly (A)-binding proteins. In the early embryo, the major vault protein is localized throughout the cytoplasm. In contrast, in differentiated cells, the major vault protein is localized to the nucleolar region of the nucleus, punctate regions of the nuclear envelope, and short linear strings juxtaposed to the exterior of the nucleus and extending into the cytoplasm. Together, these results suggest that vaults may be involved in the targeting or transport of mRNA/polyribosome complexes in the early embryo. In addition to vaults, Dr. Suprenant's lab is concentrating on a biochemical and molecular genetic characterization of the microtubule-associated protein, EMAP. The long-term goals of this work are to identify the cellular functions that require EMAP or vaults, and to understand how EMAP- and vault-dependent processes affect the development of a multicellular organism.

Selected publications:

  • Hamill, D., Davis, J., Drawbridge, J. and Suprenant, K.A. (1994): Polyribosome targeting to microtubules: Enrichment of specific mRNAs in a reconstituted microtubule preparation from sea urchin embryos. Journal of Cell Biology 127: 973-984.

  • Li, Q. and Suprenant, K.A. (1994): Molecular characterization of the 77 kD echinoderm microtubule-associated protein (EMAP): Homology to the b-transducin family. Journal of Biological Chemistry 269:31777-31784.

  • Hamill, D. and Suprenant, K. A. (1997): Characterization of the sea urchin major-vault protein: a possible role for vault ribonucleoprotein particles in nucleocytoplasmic transport. Developmental Biology 190:117-128.

  • Hamill, D. R., Howell, B., Cassimeris, L. and Suprenant, K. A. (1998): Purification of a WD-repeat protein, EMAP, and effects on microtubule dynamics. Journal of Biological Chemistry 273:9285-9291.

  • Lepley, D.M., Palange, J.M., and Suprenant, K.A. (1999): The sequence and expression patterns of a human EMAP-related protein-2 (HuEMAP-2). Gene 237:343-349.

  • Suprenant, K. A., Tuxhorn, J.A., Daggett, M. A. F., Ahrens, D. P., Hostetler, A., Palange, J. M., Van Winkle, C. E., and Livingston, B. T. (2000): Conservation of the WD-repeat, microtubule-binding protein, EMAP, in sea urchins, humans, and the nematode, C. elegans. Development, Genes and Evolution 210:2-10.


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