Neurotransmitter Release

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Hugo J. Bellen
Oxford University Press, 1999 - Medical - 437 pages
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Understanding the mechanisms that underlie brain activity and function remains one of the major frontiers of biology. All the processes of how we co-ordinate our movements, sense our surroundings, react to stimuli and learn and retain information rely on complicated networks of neurons that communicate with each other and their targets. This fast and accurate intercellular signalling most occurs at synapses, specialized processes of neurons that release chemical signals, called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters: Frontiers in Molecular Biology will provide the reader with extensive background information on neurotransmitter release. It takes a multidisciplinary approach, but does not assume previous knowledge having basic introductions to most topics. Topics however are covered in enough detail to be of interest to experts in the field. Throughout, emphasis is placed on the rationale by which proteins are assigned specific functions rather than just providing facts about function. The first chapter provides an introduction to the basic features and properties of the synapse and is followed by a chapter detailing several important techniques used to elucidate various aspects of release. Chapters 3 describes many of the biochemical approaches used to identify proteins involved in neurotransmitter release and then chapters 4 and 5 focus on more specific aspects of synaptic transmission: the proteins that transport neurotransmitters and the role of phosphlipids in the process. The next five chapters concentrate on approaches to unravel the function of many proteins in vivo by using toxins, giant squid axons, C. elegans, Drosophila, and mice. The final chapter summarizes current knowledge on endocytosis and recycling. Knowledge of the molecular mechanisms underlying neurotransmitter release has expanded tremendously over the last 10 years. Many of the proteins involved have been isolated, but their roles have yet to be determined. These discoveries will be a major challenge and it is therefore the major aim of this book not only to provide information but also to generate excitement.

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Electrophysiological analysis of synaptic transmission
The biochemistry pharmacology and genetics of synaptic
Development of the nerve terminal

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