Two Americans, James Rothman and Randy Schekman, and German-born researcher Thomas Südhof have won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for "solving the mystery of how the cell organizes its transport system," according to the Nobel committee.
"The three Nobel Laureates have discovered a fundamental process in cell physiology" known as vesicle transport and fusion, the committee says in a press release. "These discoveries have had a major impact on our understanding of how cargo is delivered with timing and precision within and outside the cell."
"Through their discoveries, Rothman, Schekman and Südhof have revealed the exquisitely precise control system for the transport and delivery of cellular cargo," the committee says. "Disturbances in this system have deleterious effects and contribute to conditions such as neurological diseases, diabetes, and immunological disorders."
The Associated Press says that Rothman is a professor at Yale University and Schekman hails from the University of California, Berkeley. Südhof joined Stanford University in 2008.
The three researchers will share a $1.2 million prize.
Medicine is the first of the Nobel prizes to be awarded.
"Established by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, the Nobel Prizes have been handed out by award committees in Stockholm and Oslo since 1901," the AP notes. "The winners of the prizes always receive their awards on Dec. 10, the anniversary of Nobel's death in 1896."