Research ArticleNEUROSCIENCE

Optogenetic pacing of medial septum parvalbumin-positive cells disrupts temporal but not spatial firing in grid cells

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Science Advances  05 May 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 19, eabd5684
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd5684


Grid cells in the medial entorhinal cortex (MEC) exhibit remarkable spatial activity patterns with spikes coordinated by theta oscillations driven by the medial septal area (MSA). Spikes from grid cells progress relative to the theta phase in a phenomenon called phase precession, which is suggested as essential to create the spatial periodicity of grid cells. Here, we show that optogenetic activation of parvalbumin-positive (PV+) cells in the MSA enabled selective pacing of local field potential (LFP) oscillations in MEC. During optogenetic stimulation, the grid cells were locked to the imposed pacing frequency but kept their spatial patterns. Phase precession was abolished, and speed information was no longer reflected in the LFP oscillations but was still carried by rate coding of individual MEC neurons. Together, these results support that theta oscillations are not critical to the spatial pattern of grid cells and do not carry a crucial velocity signal.

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