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3 win joint Nobel Prize in Medicine

Three Americans won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine on Monday for discovering the machinery that regulates how cells transport major molecules in a cargo system that delivers them to the right place at the right time in cells.

The Karolinska Institute in Stockholm announced the winners: James E. Rothman of Yale University; Randy W. Schekman of the University of California, Berkeley; and Dr. Thomas C. Südhof of Stanford University.

The molecules are moved around cells in small packages called vesicles, and each scientist discovered different facets that are needed to ensure that the right cargo is shipped to the correct destination at precisely the right time.

Their research solved the mystery of how cells organize their transport system, the Karolinska committee said.

Schekman discovered a set of genes that were required for vesicle traffic. Rothman unraveled protein machinery that allows vesicles to fuse with their targets to permit transfer of cargo. Südhof revealed how signals instruct vesicles to release their cargo with precision.

The tiny vesicles, which have a covering known as membranes, shuttle the cargo between different compartments or fuse with the membrane. The transport system activates nerves. It also controls the release of hormones.

Disturbances in this exquisitely precise control system cause serious damage that, in turn, can contribute to conditions like neurological diseases, diabetes and immunological disorders.

All three scientists have won other awards, including the Lasker Prize, for their research.

—Lawrence K. Altman, The New York Times

Chat service aims to challenge Bloomberg

The largest banks on Wall Street are teaming up to join a network that could challenge an important part of Bloomberg’s terminal business.

The banks have all signed up for a messaging service that will be introduced on Monday and will allow finance industry employees to find and chat with one another quickly.

Many traders and bankers now rely on the chat application that comes with a Bloomberg terminal, which is valuable in the networked world of Wall Street because of the number of people who have the terminals. Instant Bloomberg, as it is known, is generally available only to people who pay for the terminals, which cost about $20,000 a year each.

Bloomberg’s dominance in the messaging realm — and its hold on the information that runs through the chats — has grated on some banks that are unhappy about the fees that Bloomberg is able to charge. Banks have complained that they sometimes have to pay for a terminal just so an employee can use the chat service.

The new, more open and less expensive service, which will be operated by the industry-owned firm Markit, could loosen Bloomberg’s dominance on Wall Street.

“The industry was looking for an open network,” said Lance Uggla, the chief executive of Markit. “We all believe that chat is an item that can be unbundled from the rest of the technology to allow broader adoption in the industry.”

There is no shortage of free chat programs. But the new Markit Collaboration Services will be different because it will link chat programs that bank employees already use internally, like those offered by Microsoft and Cisco. Banks that sign up for the new service will pay one fee to connect to the system and will then be permitted to add as many employees as they want to the directory.

The eight largest Wall Street companies have already signed up, including JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Bank of America, Citigroup and Barclays.

—Nathaniel Popper, The New York Times