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Receptor potential (aka generator potential), a type of graded potential, is the transmembrane potential difference of a sensory receptor.[1]

A receptor potential is often produced by sensory transduction. It is generally a depolarizing event resulting from inward current flow. The influx of current will often bring the membrane potential of the sensory receptor towards the threshold for triggering an action potential in the associated sensory neuron.

An example of a receptor potential is in a taste bud, where taste is converted into an electrical signal sent to the brain. When stimulated, the taste bud triggers the release of neurotransmitter through exocytosis of synaptic vesicles from the presynaptic membrane. The neurotransmitter molecules diffuse across the synaptic cleft to the postsynaptic membrane.

See alsoEdit


  1. Hille, Bertil (2001). "Chapter 8. Sensory transduction and excitable cells." Ion Channels of Excitable Membranes, 3rd, 237–268, Sunderland, Massachusetts: Sinauer.
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