Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 33159859
Link to DOI – 10.1016/j.cell.2020.09.061
Cell . 2020 Dec 10;183(6):1586-1599
The hippocampus is crucial for spatial navigation and episodic memory formation. Hippocampal place cells exhibit spatially selective activity within an environment and have been proposed to form the neural basis of a cognitive map of space that supports these mnemonic functions. However, the direct influence of place cell activity on spatial navigation behavior has not yet been demonstrated. Using an ‘all-optical’ combination of simultaneous two-photon calcium imaging and two-photon optogenetics, we identified and selectively activated place cells that encoded behaviorally relevant locations in a virtual reality environment. Targeted stimulation of a small number of place cells was sufficient to bias the behavior of animals during a spatial memory task, providing causal evidence that hippocampal place cells actively support spatial navigation and memory.