The Nobel Committee awarded its first prize of the season earlier today, announcing the winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The award went to U.S. researchers James Rothman, Randy Schekman and Thomas Südhof, “who have solved the mystery of how the cell organizes its transport system,” according to the announcement. Their individual discoveries in the area of vesicle transport and vesicle fusion have http://www.nbcnews.com/science/while-just-nosing-around-forest-they-found-extinct-pinocchio-lizard-8C11339811/ revealed how cells organize and transport molecules to the right place at the right time.
Schekman, a cell biology professor at the University of California, Berkeley, discovered the genes responsible for controlling vesicle traffic in yeast. Rothman, currently a professor at Yale, discovered a protein complex that lets vesicles fuse with membranes to deliver their molecular cargo, corresponding to the proteins coded by the genes Schekman discovered. Thomas Südhof, a Stanford professor of molecular and cell physiology, discovered how nerve cells signal for vesicles to release neurotransmitters in the brain at precisely the right time.
“Through their discoveries, Rothman, Schekman and Südhof have revealed the exquisitely precise control system for the transport and delivery of cellular cargo,” the committee said in its press statement. “Disturbances in this system have deleterious effects and contribute to conditions such as neurological diseases, diabetes, and immunological disorders.”
Aside from the eternal glory, the award comes with $1.2 million, to be shared among the three. Prizes in the other categories will be announced later this week. Look out for the physics and chemistry winners tomorrow and Wednesday, respectively.