Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Nobel Prize Winner Week Essential Deliveries
10 December 2013

Essential Deliveries

Vital ingredients of life including enzymes, hormones and oxygen are shipped around every cell in our body in tiny packages called vesicles. Today, 10 December 2013, three scientists who discovered how this busy transport network is organised to enable cargoes to arrive at the right place at the right time, are being awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in Stockholm. The American Randy Schekman (inset, middle) identified three classes of genes that control different aspects of the transport network in yeast – a cell from his studies, with vesicles marked by arrows, is pictured. His compatriot James Rothman (top) discovered how a protein complex, relating to these yeast genes but also produced in mammals, guides vesicles to dock and fuse with cell membranes, while the German scientist Thomas Südhof (bottom) identified the chemical process that causes the cargoes to be released. Almost all branches of medicine could benefit from these discoveries.

Written by Mick Warwicker

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