Difference between Synapse and Synaptic Cleft

Synapse and Synaptic Cleft are two main cellular circuits which are essential for performing different tasks that help in basic survival. These highly complex circuits are made of different types of neurons. The specialised site between two neurons is called synapse while the narrow gap between post and pre synaptic membrane is called synaptic cleft. The neurons play a vital role through their electrical transmission, chemical signals, process sensory inputs as they initiate behavioural responses. They also control the overall internal physiology of organisms while the process of communication between neurons is called the synaptic transmission.

Instructions

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    Synapse

    The specialised site between two neurons is called synapse. It is also considered to be a highly specialised intercellular site. This is the location where highly localised transmissions of chemical signals occur. Mammalian brains are comprised of a majority of synapses while these can be chemical or electrical. In chemical synapses, the process of releasing molecules is different from electrical synapses. The neurotransmitter molecules are released in chemical synapses while in electrical synapses, ionotropic transmembrane are released. The electrical synapse are more complex than chemical synapse. ATP, Ca2+ and IP3 plasma membranes allow ions to cross between neurons. The synaptic junctions that are also called tight junctions work with regular plasma membranes. As they are polarised, they differ from plasma membranes. According to new research, the central synapses have three characteristics that differentiate its neurotransmitter vesicles including the post-synaptic membrane.

    - Image Courtesy: sbirc.ed.ac.uk

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    Synaptic Cleft

    The narrow gap between post and pre synaptic membrane is called synaptic cleft. This gap is approximately 20 to 50 mm. Synaptic cleft carries out different functions especially mechanical and signaling activities. It is also called the central component of a synapse while it stabilises the parallel orientation of the plasma membrane. Stabilising the parallel orientation of the pre and post synaptic plasma membrane is called a mechanical function of a synaptic cleft. To connect two or more membranes at a uniform distance while coordinating with relative position is also called a mechanical function of a synaptic cleft. The process of mediating non transmitter signals between pre and post synaptic cleft is also part of mechanical function.

    - Image Courtesy: sciencedirect.com

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