The mammalian hippocampus is critical for spatial information processing and episodic memory. Its primary output cells, CA1 pyramidal cells (CA1 PCs), vary in genetics, morphology, connectivity, and electrophysiological properties. It is therefore possible that distinct CA1 PC subpopulations encode different features of the environment and differentially contribute to learning. To test this hypothesis, we optically monitored activity in deep and superficial CA1 PCs segregated along the radial axis of the mouse hippocampus and assessed the relationship between sublayer dynamics and learning. Superficial place maps were more stable than deep during head-fixed exploration. Deep maps, however, were preferentially stabilized during goal-oriented learning, and representation of the reward zone by deep cells predicted task performance. These findings demonstrate that superficial CA1 PCs provide a more stable map of an environment, while their counterparts in the deep sublayer provide a more flexible representation that is shaped by learning about salient features in the environment. VIDEO ABSTRACT.
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