The functional micro-organization of grid cells revealed by cellular-resolution imaging

Neuron. 2014 Dec 3;84(5):1079-90. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.10.048. Epub 2014 Nov 11.


Establishing how grid cells are anatomically arranged, on a microscopic scale, in relation to their firing patterns in the environment would facilitate a greater microcircuit-level understanding of the brain's representation of space. However, all previous grid cell recordings used electrode techniques that provide limited descriptions of fine-scale organization. We therefore developed a technique for cellular-resolution functional imaging of medial entorhinal cortex (MEC) neurons in mice navigating a virtual linear track, enabling a new experimental approach to study MEC. Using these methods, we show that grid cells are physically clustered in MEC compared to nongrid cells. Additionally, we demonstrate that grid cells are functionally micro-organized: the similarity between the environment firing locations of grid cell pairs varies as a function of the distance between them according to a "Mexican hat"-shaped profile. This suggests that, on average, nearby grid cells have more similar spatial firing phases than those further apart.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Dependovirus / genetics
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Entorhinal Cortex / cytology*
  • Entorhinal Cortex / physiology*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Synapsins / genetics
  • Synapsins / metabolism
  • Transduction, Genetic
  • User-Computer Interface


  • Synapsins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Calcium