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Discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic

The 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to James E. Rothman, Randy W. Schekman and Thomas C. Südhof for their discoveries of the machinery of transporting proteins around the cell.

When hormones and neurotransmitters are transported within cells they are bound into packages known as vesicles. These allow these packages to be directed to correct place in the cell and in the right quantity.

Rothman and Schekman worked on the genes the control vesicle trafficking, with Schekman studying yeast cells and Rothman studying mammalian cells, particularly ovary cells from the Chinese hamster. Their complementary studies revealed that these processes can be dated back billions of years and can be found in all animals, plants and fungi. They were both awarded the Lasker prize in 2002 for their work.

Südhof worked on the proteins involved in the use of vesicles for neurotransmission. This included isolating proteins from the brains of rats and using GM mice to examine the roles of specific proteins


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