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      Olfaction, navigation, and the origin of isocortex

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          Abstract

          There are remarkable similarities between the brains of mammals and birds in terms of microcircuit architecture, despite obvious differences in gross morphology and development. While in reptiles and birds the most expanding component (the dorsal ventricular ridge) displays an overall nuclear shape and derives from the lateral and ventral pallium, in mammals a dorsal pallial, six-layered isocortex shows the most remarkable elaboration. Regardless of discussions about possible homologies between mammalian and avian brains, a main question remains in explaining the emergence of the mammalian isocortex, because it represents a unique phenotype across amniotes. In this article, we propose that the origin of the isocortex was driven by behavioral adaptations involving olfactory driven goal-directed and navigating behaviors. These adaptations were linked with increasing sensory development, which provided selective pressure for the expansion of the dorsal pallium. The latter appeared as an interface in olfactory-hippocampal networks, contributing somatosensory information for navigating behavior. Sensory input from other modalities like vision and audition were subsequently recruited into this expanding region, contributing to multimodal associative networks.

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          Most cited references 91

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          Microstructure of a spatial map in the entorhinal cortex.

          The ability to find one's way depends on neural algorithms that integrate information about place, distance and direction, but the implementation of these operations in cortical microcircuits is poorly understood. Here we show that the dorsocaudal medial entorhinal cortex (dMEC) contains a directionally oriented, topographically organized neural map of the spatial environment. Its key unit is the 'grid cell', which is activated whenever the animal's position coincides with any vertex of a regular grid of equilateral triangles spanning the surface of the environment. Grids of neighbouring cells share a common orientation and spacing, but their vertex locations (their phases) differ. The spacing and size of individual fields increase from dorsal to ventral dMEC. The map is anchored to external landmarks, but persists in their absence, suggesting that grid cells may be part of a generalized, path-integration-based map of the spatial environment.
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            Spatial representation in the entorhinal cortex.

            As the interface between hippocampus and neocortex, the entorhinal cortex is likely to play a pivotal role in memory. To determine how information is represented in this area, we measured spatial modulation of neural activity in layers of medial entorhinal cortex projecting to the hippocampus. Close to the postrhinal-entorhinal border, entorhinal neurons had stable and discrete multipeaked place fields, predicting the rat's location as accurately as place cells in the hippocampus. Precise positional modulation was not observed more ventromedially in the entorhinal cortex or upstream in the postrhinal cortex, suggesting that sensory input is transformed into durable allocentric spatial representations internally in the dorsocaudal medial entorhinal cortex.
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              Interplay of hippocampus and prefrontal cortex in memory.

              Recent studies on the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex have considerably advanced our understanding of the distinct roles of these brain areas in the encoding and retrieval of memories, and of how they interact in the prolonged process by which new memories are consolidated into our permanent storehouse of knowledge. These studies have led to a new model of how the hippocampus forms and replays memories and how the prefrontal cortex engages representations of the meaningful contexts in which related memories occur, as well as how these areas interact during memory retrieval. Furthermore, they have provided new insights into how interactions between the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex support the assimilation of new memories into pre-existing networks of knowledge, called schemas, and how schemas are modified in this process as the foundation of memory consolidation. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Front Neurosci
                Front Neurosci
                Front. Neurosci.
                Frontiers in Neuroscience
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                1662-4548
                1662-453X
                27 October 2015
                2015
                : 9
                Affiliations
                1Departamento de Psiquiatría, Escuela de Medicina, Centro Interdisciplinario de Neurociencia, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Santiago, Chile
                2Facultad de Medicina, Centro de Investigación Biomédica, Universidad Diego Portales Santiago, Chile
                3MRC Functional Genomics Unit, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford Oxford, UK
                Author notes

                Edited by: Lisa M. Renzi, The University of Georgia, USA

                Reviewed by: Christian Leibold, Ludwig Maximilians University, Germany; Thomas Mueller, Kansas State University, USA

                *Correspondence: Francisco Aboitiz faboitiz@ 123456puc.cl

                This article was submitted to Evolutionary Psychology and Neuroscience, a section of the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience

                Article
                10.3389/fnins.2015.00402
                4621927
                Copyright © 2015 Aboitiz and Montiel.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 114, Pages: 12, Words: 9626
                Categories
                Psychology
                Hypothesis and Theory

                Neurosciences

                isocortical evolution, plasticity, olfaction, hippocampus

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