Tennant, Sarah; Garden, Derek; Gerlei, Klara; Martinez-Gonzalez, Cristina; McClure, Christina; Wood, Emma; Nolan, Matthew. (2018). Stellate cells in medial entorhinal cortex are required for spatial learning, [dataset]. University of Edinburgh. College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. School of Biomedical Sciences. Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences. http://dx.doi.org/10.7488/ds/2290.
Spatial learning requires estimates of location that may be obtained by path integration or from positional cues. Grid and other spatial firing patterns of neurons in the superficial medial entorhinal cortex (MEC) suggest roles in behavioral estimation of location. However, distinguishing contributions of path integration and cue-based signals to spatial behaviors is challenging, and the roles of identified MEC neurons are unclear. We use virtual reality to dissociate linear path integration from other strategies for behavioral estimation of location. We find that mice learn to path integrate using motor-related self-motion signals, with accuracy that decreases steeply as a function of distance. We show that inactivation of stellate cells in superficial MEC impairs spatial learning in the virtual-reality task and in a real world object location recognition task. Our results quantify contributions of path integration to behavior and corroborate key predictions of models in which stellate cells contribute to location estimation.