In canonical G protein signaling, G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) activate heterotrimeric G proteins, which in turn regulate intracellular effector enzymes. Our lab studies G protein signaling and new classes of enzymes that activate heterotrimeric G proteins apart from GPCR-initiated activation. We found the biochemical function of one new G protein activator, Ric-8. Ric-8A activates G protein alpha subunits by serving as a guanine nucleotide exchange catalyst. A major focus of our research group is to investigate the physiological roles that Ric-8 proteins have in directing non-traditional G protein signaling pathways in the cell. Observations made in genetic model systems suggest that Ric-8 proteins work with G proteins to regulate asymmetric cell division, the subcellular localization of G protein subunits, and as modulators of traditional GPCR signaling.