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Elife. 2018 Jun 18;7. pii: e34789. doi: 10.7554/eLife.34789.

Spatial cell firing during virtual navigation of open arenas by head-restrained mice.

Author information

UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, London, United Kingdom.
Department of Neuroscience Physiology and Pharmacology, University College London, London, United Kingdom.
Department of Clinical Educational Health Psychology, University College London, London, United Kingdom.
UCL Institute of Neurology, University College London, London, United Kingdom.
Contributed equally


We present a mouse virtual reality (VR) system which restrains head-movements to horizontal rotations, compatible with multi-photon imaging. This system allows expression of the spatial navigation and neuronal firing patterns characteristic of real open arenas (R). Comparing VR to R: place and grid, but not head-direction, cell firing had broader spatial tuning; place, but not grid, cell firing was more directional; theta frequency increased less with running speed, whereas increases in firing rates with running speed and place and grid cells' theta phase precession were similar. These results suggest that the omni-directional place cell firing in R may require local-cues unavailable in VR, and that the scale of grid and place cell firing patterns, and theta frequency, reflect translational motion inferred from both virtual (visual and proprioceptive) and real (vestibular translation and extra-maze) cues. By contrast, firing rates and theta phase precession appear to reflect visual and proprioceptive cues alone.


grid cell; head-direction cell; hippocampal formation; memory; mouse; neuroscience; place cell; virtual reality

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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