The 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to James E. Rothman, Randy W. Schekman and Thomas C. SĂĽdhof "for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells".

Above, from left to right: Rothman, Schekman and SĂĽdhof, winners of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for their contributions to our understanding of cellular trafficking.

"Without this wonderfully precise organization, the cell would lapse into chaos," the Nobel Assembly said in a statement.


"Through their discoveries, Rothman, Schekman and Suedhof have revealed the exquisitely precise control system for the transport and delivery of cellular cargo."

The scientists' independent contributions to our knowledge of how molecules are transported within and between cells (click here to see an incredible video of vesicle transport inside an individual neuron) have had a direct bearing on our understanding and treatment of everything from neurological diseases to immunodeficiency to diabetes. Via the Nobel Assembly:

The three Nobel Laureates have discovered a fundamental process in cell physiology. These discoveries have had a major impact on our understanding of how cargo is delivered with timing and precision within and outside the cell. Vesicle transport and fusion operate, with the same general principles, in organisms as different as yeast and man. The system is critical for a variety of physiological processes in which vesicle fusion must be controlled, ranging from signalling in the brain to release of hormones and immune cytokines. Defective vesicle transport occurs in a variety of diseases including a number of neurological and immunological disorders, as well as in diabetes. Without this wonderfully precise organization, the cell would lapse into chaos.