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Nat Commun. 2017 Nov 24;8(1):1752. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-01908-3.

Transformation of the head-direction signal into a spatial code.

Author information

1
Neuroscience Institute, School of Medicine, New York University, 450 East 29th Street, New York City, New York, 10016, USA. adrien.peyrache@mcgill.ca.
2
Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, 3801 University Street, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3A 2B4. adrien.peyrache@mcgill.ca.
3
Neuroscience Institute, School of Medicine, New York University, 450 East 29th Street, New York City, New York, 10016, USA.
4
Institute for Theoretical Biology, Department of Biology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 10115, Berlin, Germany.
5
Neuroscience Institute, School of Medicine, New York University, 450 East 29th Street, New York City, New York, 10016, USA. gyorgy.buzsaki@nyumc.org.
6
Center for Neuroscience, New York University, New York City, New York, 10016, USA. gyorgy.buzsaki@nyumc.org.

Abstract

Animals integrate multiple sensory inputs to successfully navigate in their environments. Head direction (HD), boundary vector, grid and place cells in the entorhinal-hippocampal network form the brain's navigational system that allows to identify the animal's current location, but how the functions of these specialized neuron types are acquired remain to be understood. Here we report that activity of HD neurons is influenced by the ambulatory constraints imposed upon the animal by the boundaries of the explored environment, leading to spurious spatial information. However, in the post-subiculum, the main cortical stage of HD signal processing, HD neurons convey true spatial information in the form of border modulated activity through the integration of additional sensory modalities relative to egocentric position, unlike their driving thalamic inputs. These findings demonstrate how the combination of HD and egocentric information can be transduced into a spatial code.

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