Hippocampal place fields, the local regions of activity recorded from place cells in exploring rodents, can undergo large changes in relative location during remapping. This process would appear to require some form of modulated global input. Grid-cell responses recorded from layer II of medial entorhinal cortex in rats have been observed to realign concurrently with hippocampal remapping, making them a candidate input source. However, this realignment occurs coherently across colocalized ensembles of grid cells (Fyhn et al., 2007). The hypothesized entorhinal contribution to remapping depends on whether this coherence extends to all grid cells, which is currently unknown. We study whether dividing grid cells into small numbers of independently realigning modules can both account for this localized coherence and allow for hippocampal remapping. To do this, we construct a model in which place-cell responses arise from network competition mediated by global inhibition. We show that these simulated responses approximate the sparsity and spatial specificity of hippocampal activity while fully representing a virtual environment without learning. Place-field locations and the set of active place cells in one environment can be independently rearranged by changes to the underlying grid-cell inputs. We introduce new measures of remapping to assess the effectiveness of grid-cell modularity and to compare shift realignments with other geometric transformations of grid-cell responses. Complete hippocampal remapping is possible with a small number of shifting grid modules, indicating that entorhinal realignment may be able to generate place-field randomization despite substantial coherence.
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