A neurotransmitter receptor is a receptor protein on the surface of a cell that binds to a specific ligand, such as a neurotransmitter, receptor antagonist, biogenic amines, etc. with a wide range of differing reactions from the cell receiving the signal, triggering anything from activation to inhibition. Neurotransmitter receptors are present on both postsynaptic neurons and presynaptic neurons with the former being used to receive neurotransmitters and the latter for the purpose of preventing further release of a given neurotransmitter. In addition to being found in neuron cells, neurotransmitter receptors are also found in various immune and muscle tissues. Almost all neurotransmitter receptors are categorized as a serpentine receptor because they span the cell membrane not once, but seven times. Neurotransmitter receptors are known to become unresponsive to the type of neurotransmitter they receive when exposed for extended periods of time. This phenomenon is known as ligand-induced desensitization .
- Receptor desensitization has been previously modeled in the context of a two-state mathematical model (see this link )