Neuronal ensembles are coactive groups of neurons that may represent building blocks of cortical circuits. These ensembles could be formed by Hebbian plasticity, whereby synapses between coactive neurons are strengthened. Here we report that repetitive activation with two-photon optogenetics of neuronal populations from ensembles in the visual cortex of awake mice builds neuronal ensembles that recur spontaneously after being imprinted and do not disrupt preexisting ones. Moreover, imprinted ensembles can be recalled by single- cell stimulation and remain coactive on consecutive days. Our results demonstrate the persistent reconfiguration of cortical circuits by two-photon optogenetics into neuronal ensembles that can perform pattern completion.
Copyright © 2016, American Association for the Advancement of Science.