Related topics: neurons

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Neuropeptide controls roundworms' backward movement

A study of genetically diverse worms finds that the length of their backward movement is under the control of a small protein called a neuropeptide that fluctuates in response to food availability. The research, published ...

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This nasal receptor mediates the appetizing smell of fish food

The aquatic environment is full of tantalizing chemicals that can guide a fish to mates or meals. Now, scientists in Japan have identified the olfactory receptor and brain circuitry that picks up the scent of adenosine triphosphate, ...

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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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