Behavior determines the hippocampal spatial mapping of a multisensory environment

Brad A. Radvansky, Jun Young Oh, Jason R. Climer, Daniel A. Dombeck*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Animals behave in multisensory environments guided by various modalities of spatial information. Mammalian navigation engages a cognitive map of space in the hippocampus. Yet it is unknown whether and how this map incorporates multiple modalities of spatial information. Here, we establish two behavioral tasks in which mice navigate the same multisensory virtual environment by either pursuing a visual landmark or tracking an odor gradient. These tasks engage different proportions of visuo-spatial and olfacto-spatial mapping CA1 neurons and different population-level representations of each sensory-spatial coordinate. Switching between tasks results in global remapping. In a third task, mice pursue a target of varying sensory modality, and this engages modality-invariant neurons mapping the abstract behaviorally relevant coordinate irrespective of its physical modality. These findings demonstrate that the hippocampus does not necessarily map space as one coherent physical variable but as a combination of sensory and abstract reference frames determined by the subject's behavioral goal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109444
JournalCell reports
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 3 2021


  • 2-photon calcium imaging
  • Bayesian decoding
  • cognitive map
  • hippocampus
  • multisensory
  • odor
  • olfaction
  • place cells
  • virtual reality
  • vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Behavior determines the hippocampal spatial mapping of a multisensory environment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this