The Nobel committee said their research on "vesicle traffic" - the transport system of our cells - helped scientists understand how "cargo is delivered to the right place at the right time" inside cells.
"Disturbances in this system have deleterious effects and contribute to conditions such as neurological diseases, diabetes and immunological disorders," the committee said.
Rothman is a professor at Yale University while Schekman is at the University of California, Berkeley. Suedhof joined Stanford University in 2008.
The medicine prize kicked off this year's Nobel announcements. The awards in physics, chemistry, literature, peace and economics will be announced by other prize juries this week and next. Each prize is worth 8 million Swedish kronor ($1.2 million).
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