This year's Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research goes to James Rothman and Randy Schekman, whose research has yielded crucial insights into the mechanisms underlying membrane vesicle budding and trafficking within all cells. This work has greatly aided understanding of processes such as nerve cell communication and hormone secretion, and shed light on the role of vesicle transport in diseases such as Type 2 diabetes. The prizes will be awarded in a ceremony in New York on September 27.

James Rothman, Chairman of the Cellular Biochemistry and Biophysics Program at the Sloan-Kettering Institute, New York, adopted a biochemical approach to investigating cellular trafficking — dismantling and rebuilding the pathway in vitro. This led, in 1993, to the 'SNARE hypothesis'. The large SNARE protein family comprises vesicular SNAREs and target SNAREs. The hypothesis states that vesicular SNAREs guide vesicles to the right target membrane by docking with an appropriate...

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