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Showing posts from September, 2006

Synaptic Vesicles - Message in a bottle

Previous blog entries have covered what Neurotransmitters are, and how synaptic receptors use these molecules as triggers for complex actions once they have crossed the synapse. This blog entry explores the other side of the synaptic cleft, where the neurotransmitters are stored and released.

Nature has developed some amazing machinery to make synapses fire quickly. Relying on the cell nucleus to generate the molecules that act as neurotransmitters when they are needed would be far too slow to achieve the kind of speed required to power thought. Instead, these molecules are made ahead of time, before they are needed, and are kept bottled up in spherical containers called 'vesicles', waiting for the instant that they need to be released. The picture that is evolving on how synapses actually manage this feat is quite fascinating. And, once again, that super cool molecule called 'clathrin' plays a major role...

From http://www.hhmi.org/research/investigators/sudhof.h…