Prof. Jeffrey Magee
A directed form of plasticity shapes hippocampal representations
Learning is associated with persistent changes in animal’s brains that are beneficial, and these changes are thought to be mediated by alterations in the strength of synaptic connections within particular neuronal networks. We use both whole-cell voltage recordings and imaging techniques to record single-cell and population activity from entorhinal cortex and hippocampal regions of behaving mice. We have found that learning related changes in hippocampal activity are produced by a form of synaptic plasticity that is directed by an input pathway acting as a target. This target is carried by inputs from entorhinal cortex layer 3 (EC3) that appear to be adaptively linked to salient environmental objects. The final result is a predictive hippocampal output activity pattern that is potentially useful to the animal.