Smallmolecule Neurotransmitters

Unlike neuropeptides, small-molecule neurotransmit-ters are synthesized in cytoplasm throughout the neuron. Thus, they can be made in nerve terminals as well as in the cell body. Small-molecule neurotrans-mitters are not synthesized within the major membrane system of the cell: the endoplasmic reticulum, the Golgi apparatus, or any of the vesicles that are derived from the Golgi apparatus. Rather, they are produced in short enzymatic pathways that branch off of the major pathway of intermediary metabolism. Typically, one enzyme in the biosynthetic pathway is expressed only by neurons that make use of that particular neurotransmitter (Table II). The presence of that enzyme in a neuron can be used as a biochemical criterion for that particular transmitter.

In effect, it is evidence for the first neurotransmitter criterion, that the substance is synthesized by the neuron.

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