Chemical synapse: What happens there?

Bjoern Brembs bjoern at
Mon May 17 01:10:44 EST 1999

Christian Guttmann wrote:

> The question is how can an action potential, which  reaches the
> presynaptic terminal of a chemical synapse, cause a transmittor
> release?

Until now, nobody really knows. The "pope" in this area is Thomas Suedhoff.
Look for reviews by him in "medline" or some other reference databank. You'll
learn that there are numreous proteins involved in docking and fusion of the
vesicels to the presynaptic membrane. Contact me privately if you have problems
finding the references (one of the groups in our department are working on this

> Another question: What is the difference between excitatory and
> inhibatory transmittor(examples)?

Different from taxon to taxon. Many inhibitory transmitters in vertebrates are
excitatory in invertebrates. And I think even within an animal that can be
different between CNS and PNS (not so sure about that one, though).

> And what determines if a
> cell has the excitatory or inhibitatory effect?

It depends on what the transmitter receptor in the subsynaptic membrane does:
de- or hyperpolarization.


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