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Chemical Synapse Animation

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A neuromuscular junction is a chemical synapse between the axon endings of a motor neuron and a muscle cell. A narrow synaptic cleft separates the presynaptic cell (the motor neuron) from the postsynaptic cell (the muscle cell). The presynaptic cell contains vesicles filled with neurotransmitter. The postsynaptic cell has receptors for these vesicles. Here's a closer look at the postsynaptic membrane. The neurotransmitter can bind to a receptor site in a gated channel protein. Binding of neurotransmitter to the receptor site causes the gated channel to open. Ions flow into the postsynaptic cell and trigger an action potential at the membrane site.

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