|a printed punctuation mark (‽), available only in some typefaces, designed to combine the question mark (?) and the exclamation point (!), indicating a mixture of query and interjection, as after a rhetorical question.|
|a scrap or morsel of food left at a meal.|
|—n , pl -ses|
|1.||cytology the association in pairs of homologous chromosomes at the start of meiosis|
|2.||another word for synapse|
|[C19: from New Latin, from Greek sunapsis junction, from sunaptein to join together, from |
synapsis syn·ap·sis (sĭ-nāp'sĭs)
n. pl. syn·ap·ses (-sēz)
The side-by-side association of homologous paternal and maternal chromosomes during early meiotic prophase.
|synapse (sĭn'āps') Pronunciation Key
(click for larger image in new window)
The small junction across which a nerve impulse passes from one nerve cell to another nerve cell, a muscle cell, or a gland cell. The synapse consists of the synaptic terminal, or presynaptic ending, of a sending neuron, a postsynaptic ending of the receiving cell that contains receptor sites, and the space between them (the synaptic cleft). The synaptic terminal contains neurotransmitters and cell organelles including mitochondria. An electrical impulse in the sending neuron triggers the migration of vesicles containing neurotransmitters toward the membrane of the synaptic terminal. The vesicle membrane fuses with the presynaptic membrane, and the neurotransmitters are released into the synaptic cleft and bind to receptors of the connecting cell where they excite or inhibit electrical impulses. See also neurotransmitter.