The entorhinal cognitive map is attracted to goals

Science. 2019 Mar 29;363(6434):1443-1447. doi: 10.1126/science.aav4837.


Grid cells with their rigid hexagonal firing fields are thought to provide an invariant metric to the hippocampal cognitive map, yet environmental geometrical features have recently been shown to distort the grid structure. Given that the hippocampal role goes beyond space, we tested the influence of nonspatial information on the grid organization. We trained rats to daily learn three new reward locations on a cheeseboard maze while recording from the medial entorhinal cortex and the hippocampal CA1 region. Many grid fields moved toward goal location, leading to long-lasting deformations of the entorhinal map. Therefore, distortions in the grid structure contribute to goal representation during both learning and recall, which demonstrates that grid cells participate in mnemonic coding and do not merely provide a simple metric of space.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • CA1 Region, Hippocampal / cytology
  • CA1 Region, Hippocampal / physiology*
  • Cognition
  • Entorhinal Cortex / cytology
  • Entorhinal Cortex / physiology*
  • Goals
  • Grid Cells / physiology*
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred LEC
  • Spatial Navigation / physiology*