Distinct preplay of multiple novel spatial experiences in the rat.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2013-05-15)
George Dragoi, Susumu Tonegawa

The activity of ensembles of hippocampal place cells represents a hallmark of an animal's spatial experience. The neuronal mechanisms that enable the rapid expression of novel place cell sequences are not entirely understood. Here we report that during sleep or rest, distinct sets of hippocampal temporal sequences in the rat preplay multiple corresponding novel spatial experiences with high specificity. These findings suggest that the place cell sequence of a novel spatial experience is determined, in part, by an online selection of a subset of cellular firing sequences from a larger repertoire of preexisting temporal firing sequences in the hippocampal cellular assembly network that become rapidly bound to the novel experience. We estimate that for the given context, the recorded hippocampal network activity has the capacity to preplay an extended repertoire of at least 15 future spatial experiences of similar distinctiveness and complexity.

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