Research Project: Analysis of the Desmosome-COP9 Signalosome Complex in Epithelial-Derived Cancers Prerequisite: General Biology I and General Biology II Description: The desmosome is a protein complex that is essential for adhering epithelial cells (skin, digestive tract, reproductive tract, mammary tissue, etc.) together. Mutations in genes that code for desmosome are known to cause debilitating skin disorders, but how desmosomes are affected in epithelial cancers is understudied. Understanding how the desmosome functions as a signaling hub will shed light on its potential involvement in epithelial cancers. A relationship between the desmosome and the COP9 signalosome (a complex that degrades proteins) has been previously described in normal tissue. This project will uncover whether the desmosome-COP9 signalosome complex are misregulated in a cancerous phenotype.