How do molecules signal pre synaptic neurons to activate? and also is it more the structure or the elements in the molecule that allows it to activate the neuron also how do molecules bind to receptors and same as last time what is more important to do so the elements in the molecule or the actual structure? please answer I cannot find the answer anywhere else expert answers are appreciated!



closed as too broad by rg255, kmm, AliceD, March Ho, James Jun 18 '16 at 3:21

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    $\begingroup$ Read about neurotransmitters. This question is too broad and would be put on hold unless it is narrowed down. $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG Jun 16 '16 at 20:08

Activating a neuron generally means depolarizing the neuron, sometimes depolarizing enough to trigger an action potential. In general, molecules activate neurons by binding to their cognate receptors in the neuron cell membrane. Sometimes the receptor is, itself, an ion channel. Other times the receptor initiates a cascade of events in the neuron's cytosol that end up modifying the cytoplasmic portion of an ion channel and thus opening the channel. In both cases, the channel is usually specific for positively charged ions (cations) (e.g. Na+ or Ca2+) whose concentration is greater outside the neuron than in the neuron's cytosol. Activation results when these cation channels open and allow positively charged ions to flow into the neuron. This entry of positive charge reduces the neuron's cell membrane potential, making the potential less negative. If enough positive charge enters, the neuron may be depolarized enough to trigger an action potential on the neuron's axon. This is what is usually meant by activating a neuron. It depends on the three-dimensional structure of the molecule (often a neurotransmitter) and the structure of the receptor. The binding of a signaling molecule to its receptor is usually non-covalent, often mediated by hydrogen bonds.

  • $\begingroup$ You've given a nice answer, but references would be much more appreciated. Please add some citations in your answer to make it more helpful. $\endgroup$ – another 'Homo sapien' Jun 17 '16 at 3:53

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