James Rothman: How Vesicles in Our Cells Allow Communication in the Body and the Brain

Membrane fusion is a universal process that allows cells to deploy tiny, enclosed, fluid-filled structures called vesicles to store and release packets of active substances. This system allows the organs in the body to use hormones to communicate with each other and for the brain to use neurotransmitters to send messages. Similar vesicle packets distribute proteins within a cell, enabling the specialized organelles contained in each cell to function properly and to propagate in cell division. Imbalances in these pathways contribute to diabetes and cancer, as well as immune and neurological diseases, as explained by James Rothman, 2010 Kavli Prize Laureate in Neuroscience.

The Kavli Prize Carnegie lectures is Co-hosted by the Carnegie Institution for Science with The Kavli Foundation, the Royal Embassy of Norway, and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. The Kavli Prize is a partnership between The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, The Kavli Foundation (United States), and The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research.