Recycling of Vesicle Membrane

If the membranes of synaptic vesicles fuse with the plasma membrane of the terminal during transmitter release, we might expect the area of the terminal membrane to increase with use. Indeed, over the life span of an animal, millions ofsynaptic vesicles might fuse with the terminal membrane, so that the terminal might become huge. However, this does not happen because the vesicle membrane does not remain part of the plasma membrane; instead, the fused vesicles are recycled. The scheme is summarized in Figure 8-12. After fusion, the vesicles pinch off again from the plasma membrane, are refilled with ACh, and are ready to be used again to transfer neurotransmitter into the synaptic cleft.

Figure 8-12 The recycling of vesicle membrane in the presynaptic terminal at the neuromuscular junction.

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Figure 8-12 The recycling of vesicle membrane in the presynaptic terminal at the neuromuscular junction.

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