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Cells in the "logistics" mechanism

Date:2014-10-18 09:45

In the metabolic process, the cell is how to carry out a lot of material sorting, packaging and delivery , three Nobel laureates discovered that the problem lies in vesicle transport system.

Under a microscope , the neuron looks like crumpled paper and spread out after a small folds, by synaptic communication between them , which is what the human brain can run foundation. Stanford University neuroscientist Thomas Sood Hof (Thomas Südhof) research interest is to figure out between neurons "Communication" is how to proceed .

October 7, 2013 , the Nobel Prize website the telephone call Sood Hof phone when he was driving down the road in Spain , Baeza afternoon he went to do an academic report. At first he thought it was a friendly phone call telling him the way , so he drove into a parking lot to pick up the phone , did not think this is the phone from Sweden .

Prior to this, the Nobel Prize site staff make telephone calls Sood Hove house , but he was not at home. The phone rang three times, his wife Chen Lu decided to go downstairs to answer , she thought it was not quite sure what time zone Chinese relatives calling.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced that the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to three in the " cellular material transport" made ​​outstanding contributions to research scientists - American James Rothman (James Rothman) and Randy Shook Man (Randy Schekman), and Thomas was born in Germany Sood Hof (Thomas Südhof).

Sood Hof although not worked together with the other two , but three of them together to solve a major problem in biology , namely " how cells in the metabolism of a large number of substances during sorting , packing and delivery at the right time to the right place . " This three Nobel laureates have been to show people , the problem lies in the memory cells in the vesicle transport system.

The body of the logistics network

Modern society developed logistics network can be accurately delivered to every household goods , like cells also require a similar transport system cells to produce molecules such as hormones , neurotransmitters and cytokines such as transport to the cells of the other place or transshipment out of the cell .

As early as 40 years ago , the famous cell biologist , Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine Prize winner George Palade (George Palade) in the electron microscope discovered intracellular transport network. He found that memory cells wrapped in a membrane vesicle formation is the micro- vesicles . These vesicles can take cells shuttling cargo between various organelles , or fusion with the cell membrane into the extracellular release of the goods to go . Vesicles can effectively prevent the presence of different types of cells in place goods mixed together.

The discovery was quickly accepted by most scientists , however, followed by a more complex question, " How do we know when these vesicles where the delivery of the goods ."

In 1976, the University of California , Berkeley, Schuchman established a laboratory , began to adopt an unusual way to explore this issue. In yeast as a model animal , trying to study the intracellular material transport system mechanisms . At that time, some of the research colleagues thought he was a " stupid decision ."

Through genetic screening, he found a transport system defective yeast cells, which accumulate in vesicles in some parts of the cell , if the logistics network paralysis caused by accumulation of the same goods . He found that certain genetic mutations causing defects in the yeast cells .

To these genes as a breakthrough , and after 10 years of research , Schuchman identified three types of transport vesicles at different stages of gene regulation , so as to the mechanism of material transport system provides a new set of insights.

The first time, Schuchman in yeast research on not only by some people think is stupid, but also often not promising basic research. However , his research was later proved valuable . In the 1980s and 1990s , thanks to his many drug development studies in yeast . Until today, the world's third insulin are also coming from the yeast .

And Schuchman the same period, was still at Stanford University Rothman also established his own laboratory , he used to conduct similar experiments in mammalian cells . He found a way to influence cell material transport protein , and the gene encoding the protein Schuchman found in yeast mutant gene corresponding to , which means that the vesicle transport systems share a common evolutionary origin .

In addition, Rothman also found a protein complex , which enables the vesicle membrane system and the destination for docking and fusion . In order to ensure that the goods are delivered to a precise location , they will only be combined in specific ways . The findings illustrate how transport vesicles to the target system .

These findings so long ago Schuchman and Rothman became a popular figure Nobel . In 2002, they won the U.S. Lasker Award. There are a lot of winners of this award will subsequently won the Nobel Prize , and thus it is often used as a "pointer ." This two biologists no exception, they were all looking forward to the heart in a given year in October received a call from Stockholm .

In a press materials, the description says University of California, Berkeley , every year , in that exciting morning came and went , just not the Swedish phone, Schuchman and Rothman will interworking calls. Schuchman will borrow the movie saying , this day is called " Groundhog Day ." In the movie " Groundhog Day" , the hero every day repeating the same story.

This day repeated a decade. October 6, 2013 evening, Schuchman picking up an award from the German home, it is Germany's highest award in the field of biochemistry . Do not lie down for several hours , he heard his wife holding the phone to him shouted: " to the phone ! To the phone ! " This year, Sweden and finally the phone. " Oh my God ." Schuchman said it was his first reaction , "My second reaction is to this ."

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