Nobel Winners Decoded How Neurons And Cells Talk To Each Other


by MICHAELEEN DOUCLEFF  October 07, 2013 9:04 AMlandovwinnerw_brick-6096c910d4c8432f52b1d4cbd18ba3b88e3da37f-s40-c85

The three scientists who shared this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine all made discoveries that illuminate how the body’s cells communicate.  The research has sweeping implications for our understanding of how nerves in the brain transmit signals, how the immune system attacks pathogens and how hormones, like insulin, get into the bloodstream.  Bioengineers have already harnessed the discoveries to manufacture new vaccines and improve the quality of insulin for diabetics.

How does insulin get into the blood? The hormone (dark blue) is carried to the cell surface in a bubble-like compartment, called a vesicle. When the vesicle binds with the cell membrane, it pops open and releases the insulin.  The winners include two Americans — James Rothman of Yale University and Randy Schekman of the University of California, Berkeley — and the German-born Thomas Suedhof of Stanford University. Both Schekman and Suedhof are also investigators at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  Read More…

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