What is the order of Synaptic Transmission?

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Andy Y. Share
May 25, 2017


  1. Neurotransmitter synthesis
  2. Packaging
  3. Release
  4. Binding
  5. Stopping the chemical signal


Electrical information is conducted through the body along neurons. But neurons are not infinitely long (although some can be pretty long and measure above 1 m in length) and they “synapse” on each other.

The problem is that at the point of synaptic junction there is a “gap” between the first neuron and the subsequent one. This gap is called the synaptic cleft (it’s between #10" nm"# and #20" nm"# large).

The electrical signal cannot “jump” over that gap. Instead, at the point of synaptic junction between two neurons, the electrical signal is “translated” into a chemical message (the neurotransmitter) by the presynaptic neuron (at the presynaptic terminal) – Step 1 & 2.

That chemical diffuses (“swims”) across the synaptic cleft until it reaches the other neuron – Step 2 & 3.

The other neuron then “translates” the chemical signal back into an electrical one – Step 3 & 4.

The chemical message is degraded – Step 5.

This “new” electrical message can now travel down the neuron until it reaches a new synaptic junction.

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