Learning critically depends on the ability to rapidly form and store non-overlapping representations of the external world. In line with their postulated role in episodic memory, hippocampal place cells can undergo a rapid reorganization of their firing fields upon contextual manipulations. To explore the mechanisms underlying such global remapping, we juxtacellularly stimulated 42 hippocampal neurons in freely moving mice during spatial exploration. We found that evoking spike trains in silent neurons was sufficient for creating place fields, while in place cells, juxtacellular stimulation induced a rapid remapping of their place fields to the stimulus location. The occurrence of complex spikes was most predictive of place field plasticity. Our data thus indicate that plasticity-inducing stimuli are able to rapidly bias place cell activity, simultaneously suppressing existing place fields. We propose that such competitive place field dynamics could support the orthogonalization of the hippocampal map during global remapping.
Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.