Jai Y Yu
Profile Url: jai-y-yu
Researcher at University of Chicago
The receptive field of a neuron describes the regions of a stimulus space where the neuron is consistently active. Sparse spiking outside of the receptive field is often considered to be noise, rather than a reflection of information processing. Whether this characterization is accurate remains unclear. We therefore contrasted the sparse, temporally isolated spiking of hippocampal CA1 place cells to the consistent, temporally adjacent spiking seen within their spatial receptive fields ("place fields"). We found that isolated spikes, which occur during locomotion, are more strongly phase coupled to hippocampal theta oscillations than adjacent spikes and, surprisingly, transiently express coherent representations of non-local spatial representations. Further, prefrontal cortical activity is coordinated with, and can predict the occurrence of future isolated spiking events. Rather than local noise within the hippocampus, sparse, isolated place cell spiking reflects a coordinated cortical-hippocampal process consistent with the generation of non-local scenario representations during active navigation.
Rats have the ability to learn and perform sophisticated behavioral tasks, making them very useful for investigating neural circuit functions. In contrast to the extensive mouse genetic toolkit, the paucity of recombinase-expressing rat models has limited the ability to monitor and manipulate molecularly-defined neural populations in this species. Here we report the generation and validation of two knock-in rat strains expressing either Cre or Flp recombinase under the control of Parvalbumin (Pvalb), a gene expressed in the critical 'fast-spiking' subset of inhibitory interneurons (FSIs). These strains were generated with CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing and show highly specific and penetrant labeling of Pvalb-expressing neurons, as demonstrated by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. We validated these models in both prefrontal cortex and striatum using both ex vivo and in vivo approaches, including whole-cell recording, optogenetics, extracellular physiology and photometry. Our results demonstrate the utility of these new transgenic models for a wide range of neuroscience experiments.
Nature Communications, 2018-06-07
Memories link information about specific experiences to more general knowledge that is abstracted from and contextualizes those experiences, but how neuronal activity patterns support this link is not known. Here we show that during memory reactivation in a foraging task with multiple spatial paths, specific hippocampal place representations are concurrently and preferentially reactivated with a subset of prefrontal cortical task representations that generalize across different paths. This link between specific and general representations may serve as a neural substrate for abstraction and task guidance in mammals.