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A 'synaptosome' is an isolated terminal of a neuron. Synaptosomes are obtained after homogenization and fractionation of nerve tissue. The fractionation step involves several centrifugations to separate various organelles from the synaptosomes. Synaptosomes are formed from the phospholipid layer of the cell membrane and synaptic proteins such as receptors. Synaptosomes are commonly used to study synaptic transmission because they contain the molecular machinery necessary for the uptake, storage, and release of neurotransmitters and because they are relatively easy to prepare in the laboratory.
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