Bett D, Stevenson CH, Shires KL, Smith MT, Martin SJ, Dudchenko P & Wood ER (2013) The Postsubiculum and Spatial Learning: The Role of Postsubicular Synaptic Activity and Synaptic Plasticity in Hippocampal Place Cell, Object, and Object-Location Memory. Journal of Neuroscience, 33 (16), pp. 6928-6943. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5476-12.2013
Visual landmarks exert stimulus control over spatial behavior and the spatially tuned firing of place, head-direction, and grid cells in the rodent. However, the neural site of convergence for representations of landmarks and representations of space has yet to be identified. A potential site of plasticity underlying associations with landmarks is the postsubiculum. To test this, we blocked glutamatergic transmission in the rat postsubiculum with CNQX, or NMDA receptor-dependent plasticity with d-AP5. These infusions were sufficient to block evoked potentials from the lateral dorsal thalamus and long-term depression following tetanization of this input to the postsubiculum, respectively. In a second experiment, CNQX disrupted the stability of rat hippocampal place cell fields in a familiar environment. In a novel environment, blockade of plasticity with d-AP5 in the postsubiculum did not block the formation of a stable place field map following a 6 h delay. In a final behavioral experiment, postsubicular infusions of both compounds blocked object-location memory in the rat, but did not affect object recognition memory. These results suggest that the postsubiculum is necessary for the recognition of familiar environments, and that NMDA receptor-dependent plasticity in the postsubiculum is required for the formation of new object-place associations that support recognition memory. However, plasticity in the postsubiculum is not necessary for the formation of new spatial maps.
Journal of Neuroscience: Volume 33, Issue 16