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Rediff.com  » News » Researchers from US, Germany win 2013 Nobel Medicine Prize

Researchers from US, Germany win 2013 Nobel Medicine Prize

October 07, 2013 17:06 IST

James Rothman, Randy Schekman and Thomas Suedhof won the 2013 Nobel Medicine Prize 2013 on Monday for solving the mystery of how the cell organises its transport system. The winners will share equally the prize sum of eight million Swedish kronor (USD 1.25 million), reduced because of the economic crisis last year from the 10 million kronor awarded since 2001.

The three researchers who all work at US universities, were honoured for "their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells," it said.

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.

Each cell is a factory that produces and exports molecules. For instance, insulin is manufactured and released into the blood and chemical signals called neurotransmitters are sent from one nerve cell to another.

These molecules are transported around the cell in small packages called vesicles. The three Nobel Laureates have discovered the molecular principles that govern how this cargo is delivered to the right place at the right time in the cell. Read more 

Through their discoveries, Rothman, Schekman and Südhof have revealed the exquisitely precise control system for the transport and delivery of cellular cargo. Disturbances in this system have deleterious effects and contribute to conditions such as neurological diseases, diabetes, and immunological disorders.

About the Nobel Laureates:

James E Rothman was born 1950 in Haverhill, Massachusetts, USA. He received his PhD from HarvardMedicalSchool in 1976, was a postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2008, he joined the faculty of YaleUniversity in New Haven, Connecticut, USA, where he is currently Professor and Chairman in the Department of Cell Biology.

Randy W Schekman was born 1948 in St Paul, Minnesota, USA, studied at the University of California in Los Angeles and at StanfordUniversity, where he obtained his PhD in 1974 under the supervision of Arthur Kornberg (Nobel Prize 1959) and in the same department that Rothman joined a few years later. In 1976, Schekman joined the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley, where he is currently Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell biology.

Thomas C Südhof was born in 1955 in Göttingen, Germany. Südhof became an investigator of Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 1991 and was appointed Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at StanfordUniversity in 2008.

Image: Nobel Laureates James Rothman, Randy Schekman and Thomas Suedhof