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Re: Biology(?) 101: a basic, embarassing question:

Posted by allisonm on March 31, 2002, at 19:53:57

In reply to Biology(?) 101: a basic, embarassing question:, posted by Janelle on March 30, 2002, at 23:57:08

Neuron: A nerve cell; the fundamental unit of the nervous system, having structure and properties that allow it to conduct signals by taking advantage of the electrical charge across its cell membrane.

Synapse: The locus where one neuron communicates with another neuron in a neural pathway; a narrow gap between a synaptic terminal of an axon and a signal-receiving portion (dendrite or cell-body) of another neuron or effector cell. Neurotransmitter molecules released by synaptic terminals diffuse across the synapse, relaying messages to the dendrite or effector.

Synaptic terminal: A bulb at the end of an axon in which neurotransmitter molecules are stored and released.

Neurotransmitter: A chemical messenger released from the synaptic terminal of a neuron at a chemical synapse that diffuses across the synaptic cleft and binds to and stimulates the postsynaptic cell.

Postsynaptic membrane: The surface of the cell on the opposite side of the synapse from the synaptic terminal of the stimulating neuron that contains receptor proteins and degradative enzymes for the neurotransmitter.

Source: Biology, Fifth Ed.; Neil Campbell, Jane Reece, Lawrence Mitchell. Benjamin Cummings Pub.1999


I notice that you have many questions. I think that's good. I don't want to dampen your enthusiasm, but information such as that above can easily be found at a library or on the web, in an encyclopedia, or possibly in a dictionary. I certainly didn't know or remember all of the above info until I looked it up for this post. And this info does not answer all of your questions. I guess what I am gently trying to suggest is that looking up information such as this for yourself may lead you to more interesting information, (i.e., you may quench your thirst for information with a search of your own and learn even more while you're at it!)

Best wishes,




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