Subicular neurons represent multiple variables of a hippocampal-dependent task by using theta rhythm
Sumin Lee, Jae-Min Seol, and Inah Lee
Year of publication
Publication in journal
PLOS Biology
Published online
The subiculum is positioned at a critical juncture at the interface of the hippocampus with the rest of the brain. However, the exact roles of the subiculum in most hippocampal-dependent memory tasks remain largely unknown. One obstacle to make comparisons of neural firing patterns between the subiculum and hippocampus is the broad firing fields of the subicular cells. Here, we used spiking phases in relation to theta rhythm to parse the broad firing field of a subicular neuron into multiple subfields to find the unique functional contribution of the subiculum while male rats performed a hippocampal-dependent visual scene memory task. Some of the broad firing fields of the subicular neurons were successfully divided into multiple subfields similar to those in the CA1 by using the theta phase precession cycle. The new paradigm significantly improved the detection of task-relevant information in subicular cells without affecting the information content represented by CA1 cells. Notably, we found that multiple fields of a single subicular neuron, unlike those in the CA1, carried heterogeneous task-related information such as visual context and choice response. Our findings suggest that the subicular cells integrate multiple task-related factors by using theta rhythm to associate environmental context with action.