Cell biologists James E. Rothman, Randy W. Schekman and Thomas C. Südhof were awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine on Monday for their research into how cells transport molecules.
According to a news release from the Nobel Foundation, the three scientists, all of whom work at American universities, “have discovered the molecular principles that govern how this cargo is delivered to the right place at the right time in the cell.”
Schekman is a professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California at Berkeley, Rothman is the chairman of the department of cell biology at Yale and Südhof, who is originally from Germany, is a professor of molecular and cellular physiology at Stanford. Südhof is also an investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
According to the release from the Nobel Foundation: “Randy Schekman discovered a set of genes that were required for vesicle traffic. James Rothman unravelled protein machinery that allows vesicles to fuse with their targets to permit transfer of cargo. Thomas Südhof revealed how signals instruct vesicles to release their cargo with precision.”
The work of the three newest Nobel Laureates is important because it helps scientists better understand diseases like diabetes in which the cell transportation system behaves abnormally.