The neural representation of space relies on a network of entorhinal-hippocampal cell types with firing patterns tuned to different abstract features of the environment. To determine how this network is set up during early postnatal development, we monitored markers of structural maturation in developing mice, both in naïve animals and after temporally restricted pharmacogenetic silencing of specific cell populations. We found that entorhinal stellate cells provide an activity-dependent instructive signal that drives maturation sequentially and unidirectionally through the intrinsic circuits of the entorhinal-hippocampal network. The findings raise the possibility that a small number of autonomously developing neuronal populations operate as intrinsic drivers of maturation across widespread regions of the cortex.
Copyright © 2017, American Association for the Advancement of Science.