Three scientists, two of American origin and one German, have won this year's Nobel Prize for medicine or physiology for discovering how cells organise their transport system.
The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet announced on Monday that American scientists James E Rothman, Randy W Schekman and German scientist Thomas C Südhof will be awarded 8 million crowns ($1.2 million) for explaining how the most important transport system in our cells, known as machinery regulating vesicle traffic, worked.
"Through their discoveries, Rothman, Schekman and Suedhof have revealed the exquisitely precise control system for the transport and delivery of cellular cargo," a statement appeared on the website of the award-giving body, said. "Disturbances in this system have deleterious effects and contribute to conditions such as neurological diseases, diabetes, and immunological disorders."
Rothman (63) is professor and chairman in the Department of Cell Biology at Yale University in New Haven and Schekman (65) is professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology in the University of California at Berkeley in the USA. Südhof (58) is the professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Stanford University.
The scientists discovered how different cells produce and exports molecules and the factors that influence while delivering the cargo to the right place and right time in the cell.
"These beautiful discoveries have importance for the understanding of the human body and obviously implications for diseases in various organs such as the nervous system, diabetes and immune disorders," Jan-Inge Henter, professor of clinical child oncology at the Karolinska Institute, told Reuters.
Last year, the Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine was shared by English biologist John B. Gurdon and a Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka for discovering that mature cells can be reprogrammed into stem cells.
Watch the announcement of the Nobel prize below: