Related topics: neurons

Important genetic origin of our senses identified

Having a head is quite an advantage. Although this may sound banal, it had to be tested in a long evolutionary process: As animal life developed, invertebrates initially dominated the oceans. These had already developed head ...

Mapping the olfactory system in fruit flies

The distinctive smell of a flower… the unmistakable aroma of coffee… the dangers linked with inhaling smoke fumes. Sensory systems have evolved to provide us with immediate, finely tuned information about the world around ...

Using artificial intelligence to smell the roses

A pair of researchers at the University of California, Riverside, has used machine learning to understand what a chemical smells like—a research breakthrough with potential applications in the food flavor and fragrance ...

Revealing how flies make decisions on the fly to survive

Many insects process visual information to make decisions about controlling their flying skills and movements- flies must decide whether to pursue prey, avoid a predator, maintain their flight trajectory or land based on ...

Free range mitochondria are coming for you

Transfer of mitochondria between cells is a ubiquitously occurring and now universally known phenomenon. For years, researchers have been serially demonstrating that one particular new cell type can transfer its mitos to ...

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Sensory neuron

Sensory neurons are neurons that are activated by sensory input (vision, touch, hearing, etc.), and send projections into the central nervous system that convey sensory information to the brain or spinal cord. Unlike neurons of the central nervous system, whose inputs come from other neurons, sensory neurons are activated by physical modalities such as light, sound, temperature, chemical stimulation, etc.

In complex organisms, sensory neurons relay their information to the central nervous system or in less complex organisms, such as the hydra, directly to motor neurons and sensory neurons also transmit information (electrical impulses) to the brain, where it can be further processed and acted upon. For example, olfactory sensory neurons make synapses with neurons of the olfactory bulb, where the sense of olfaction (smell) is processed.

At the molecular level, sensory receptors located on the cell membrane of sensory neurons are responsible for the conversion of stimuli into electrical impulses. The type of receptor employed by a given sensory neuron determines the type of stimulus it will be sensitive to. For example, neurons containing mechanoreceptors are sensitive to tactile stimuli, while olfactory receptors make a cell sensitive to odors.

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