- electrical synapse
A connection between two electrically excitable cells, such as neurons or muscle cells, via arrays of gap junctions. This allows electrical coupling of the cells, and so an action potential in one cell moves directly into the other, without the 1 ms delay inherent in chemical synapses. Electrical synapses do not allow modulation of their connection, and so only occur in neuronal circuits where speed of conduction is paramount (eg. the crayfish escape reflex). A few electrical synapses are rectifying, implying a more specialized property than a simple gap junction.
Dictionary of molecular biology. 2004.
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