The Voorhees lab will investigate the quality-control factors that are responsible for ensuring how protein complexes are assembled and degraded. Virtually all cellular processes, from DNA replication to cell signaling, depend on protein complexes. These complexes are manufactured in an intricate and highly regulated fashion involving defined ratios of complex subunits. When excess subunits are not used, they are quickly removed to prevent toxic buildup in the cell. Cancer cells, which often make excess proteins due to genetic aberrations, are particularly dependent on this cleanup process to stay alive. Gaining a better understanding of how cells identify and degrade excess subunits could lead to new avenues for cancer treatment. Using a combination of biochemical, genomic, and structural methodologies, our group will closely examine the factors involved both in protein complex assembly and the quality-control process—work that could open a new area of study on molecular surveillance factors and their potential roles in cancer.