In familiar environments, the firing fields of entorhinal grid cells form regular triangular lattices. However, when the geometric shape of the environment is deformed, these time-averaged grid patterns are distorted in a grid scale-dependent and local manner. We hypothesized that this distortion in part reflects dynamic anchoring of the grid code to displaced boundaries, possibly through border cell-grid cell interactions. To test this hypothesis, we first reanalyzed two existing rodent grid rescaling datasets to identify previously unrecognized boundary-tethered shifts in grid phase that contribute to the appearance of rescaling. We then demonstrated in a computational model that boundary-tethered phase shifts, as well as scale-dependent and local distortions of the time-averaged grid pattern, could emerge from border-grid interactions without altering inherent grid scale. Together, these results demonstrate that environmental deformations induce history-dependent shifts in grid phase, and implicate border-grid interactions as a potential mechanism underlying these dynamics.
Keywords: computational model; deformation; entorhinal cortex; grid cell; hippocampus; neuroscience; place cell; rat.
© 2018, Keinath et al.