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PRE-synaptic neuron
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PRE-synaptic neuron. synapse (the “gap”). POST-synaptic neuron. pre-synaptic neuron. vesicle (bubble). neurotransmitter. axon terminal. synapse. receptor. post-synaptic neuron. 1. electrical signal moves down axon to axon terminal 2. vesicles move toward pre-synaptic membrane.

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synapse (the “gap”)

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Synapse the gap

PRE-synaptic neuron


(the “gap”)

POST-synaptic neuron

Synapse the gap

pre-synaptic neuron

vesicle (bubble)


axon terminal



post-synaptic neuron

Synapse the gap

1. electrical signal moves down axon to axon terminal

2. vesicles move toward pre-synaptic membrane

Synapse the gap

3. vesicle fuses with presynaptic membrane

Synapse the gap

this releases neurotransmitter molecules (purple balls) into the synapse

Synapse the gap

neurotransmitters cross the synapse

if they fall into a matching receptor, the postsynaptic neuron may fire

Synapse the gap

there can be different KINDS of neurotransmitters





and different kinds of RECEPTORS

Synapse the gap

  • note there are receptors for both purple and orange neurotransmitters on the postsynaptic neuron

  • in reality there are about 60 different neurotransmitters and receptors

  • a neurotransmitter must fall into the proper receptor or else no signal will be sent

  • different parts of the brain have different concentrations of receptors and neurotransmitters

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