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Romani Lab / Publications
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37 Publications

Showing 21-30 of 37 results
Romani LabMagee Lab
01/23/17 | Inhibitory suppression of heterogeneously tuned excitation enhances spatial coding in CA1 place cells.
Grienberger C, Milstein AD, Bittner KC, Romani S, Magee JC
Nature Neuroscience. 2017 Jan 23;20(3):417-26. doi: 10.1038/nn.4486

Place cells in the CA1 region of the hippocampus express location-specific firing despite receiving a steady barrage of heterogeneously tuned excitatory inputs that should compromise output dynamic range and timing. We examined the role of synaptic inhibition in countering the deleterious effects of off-target excitation. Intracellular recordings in behaving mice demonstrate that bimodal excitation drives place cells, while unimodal excitation drives weaker or no spatial tuning in interneurons. Optogenetic hyperpolarization of interneurons had spatially uniform effects on place cell membrane potential dynamics, substantially reducing spatial selectivity. These data and a computational model suggest that spatially uniform inhibitory conductance enhances rate coding in place cells by suppressing out-of-field excitation and by limiting dendritic amplification. Similarly, we observed that inhibitory suppression of phasic noise generated by out-of-field excitation enhances temporal coding by expanding the range of theta phase precession. Thus, spatially uniform inhibition allows proficient and flexible coding in hippocampal CA1 by suppressing heterogeneously tuned excitation.

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05/30/16 | Hippocampal global remapping for different sensory modalities in flying bats.
Geva-Sagiv M, Romani S, Las L, Ulanovsky N
Nature Neuroscience. 2016 May 30;19(7):952-8. doi: 10.1038/nn.4310

Hippocampal place cells encode the animal's spatial position. However, it is unknown how different long-range sensory systems affect spatial representations. Here we alternated usage of vision and echolocation in Egyptian fruit bats while recording from single neurons in hippocampal areas CA1 and subiculum. Bats flew back and forth along a linear flight track, employing echolocation in darkness or vision in light. Hippocampal representations remapped between vision and echolocation via two kinds of remapping: subiculum neurons turned on or off, while CA1 neurons shifted their place fields. Interneurons also exhibited strong remapping. Finally, hippocampal place fields were sharper under vision than echolocation, matching the superior sensory resolution of vision over echolocation. Simulating several theoretical models of place-cells suggested that combining sensory information and path integration best explains the experimental sharpening data. In summary, here we show sensory-based global remapping in a mammal, suggesting that the hippocampus does not contain an abstract spatial map but rather a 'cognitive atlas', with multiple maps for different sensory modalities.

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03/15/16 | Practice makes perfect in memory recall.
Romani S, Katkov M, Tsodyks M
Learning & Memory (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.). 2016 Apr;23(4):169-73. doi: 10.1101/lm.041178.115

A large variability in performance is observed when participants recall briefly presented lists of words. The sources of such variability are not known. Our analysis of a large data set of free recall revealed a small fraction of participants that reached an extremely high performance, including many trials with the recall of complete lists. Moreover, some of them developed a number of consistent input-position-dependent recall strategies, in particular recalling words consecutively ("chaining") or in groups of consecutively presented words ("chunking"). The time course of acquisition and particular choice of positional grouping were variable among participants. Our results show that acquiring positional strategies plays a crucial role in improvement of recall performance.

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12/17/15 | Neural Network Model of Memory Retrieval.
Recanatesi S, Katkov M, Romani S, Tsodyks M
Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience. 2015 Dec 17;9:149. doi: 10.3389/fncom.2015.00149

Human memory can store large amount of information. Nevertheless, recalling is often a challenging task. In a classical free recall paradigm, where participants are asked to repeat a briefly presented list of words, people make mistakes for lists as short as 5 words. We present a model for memory retrieval based on a Hopfield neural network where transition between items are determined by similarities in their long-term memory representations. Meanfield analysis of the model reveals stable states of the network corresponding (1) to single memory representations and (2) intersection between memory representations. We show that oscillating feedback inhibition in the presence of noise induces transitions between these states triggering the retrieval of different memories. The network dynamics qualitatively predicts the distribution of time intervals required to recall new memory items observed in experiments. It shows that items having larger number of neurons in their representation are statistically easier to recall and reveals possible bottlenecks in our ability of retrieving memories. Overall, we propose a neural network model of information retrieval broadly compatible with experimental observations and is consistent with our recent graphical model (Romani et al., 2013).

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02/01/15 | Theta sequences are essential for internally generated hippocampal firing fields.
Wang Y, Romani S, Lustig B, Leonardo A, Pastalkova E
Nature Neuroscience. 2015 Feb;18(2):282-8. doi: 10.1038/nn.3904

Sensory cue inputs and memory-related internal brain activities govern the firing of hippocampal neurons, but which specific firing patterns are induced by either of the two processes remains unclear. We found that sensory cues guided the firing of neurons in rats on a timescale of seconds and supported the formation of spatial firing fields. Independently of the sensory inputs, the memory-related network activity coordinated the firing of neurons not only on a second-long timescale, but also on a millisecond-long timescale, and was dependent on medial septum inputs. We propose a network mechanism that might coordinate this internally generated firing. Overall, we suggest that two independent mechanisms support the formation of spatial firing fields in hippocampus, but only the internally organized system supports short-timescale sequential firing and episodic memory.

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01/15/15 | Effects of long-term representations on free recall of unrelated words.
Katkov M, Romani S, Tsodyks M
Learning & Memory. 2015 Jan 15;22(2):101-8. doi: 10.1101/lm.035238.114

Human memory stores vast amounts of information. Yet recalling this information is often challenging when specific cues are lacking. Here we consider an associative model of retrieval where each recalled item triggers the recall of the next item based on the similarity between their long-term neuronal representations. The model predicts that different items stored in memory have different probability to be recalled depending on the size of their representation. Moreover, items with high recall probability tend to be recalled earlier and suppress other items. We performed an analysis of a large data set on free recall and found a highly specific pattern of statistical dependencies predicted by the model, in particular negative correlations between the number of words recalled and their average recall probability. Taken together, experimental and modeling results presented here reveal complex interactions between memory items during recall that severely constrain recall capacity.

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01/01/15 | Short-term plasticity based network model of place cells dynamics.
Romani S, Tsodyks M
Hippocampus. 2015 Jan;25(1):94-105. doi: 10.1002/hipo.22355

Rodent hippocampus exhibits strikingly different regimes of population activity in different behavioral states. During locomotion, hippocampal activity oscillates at theta frequency (5-12 Hz) and cells fire at specific locations in the environment, the place fields. As the animal runs through a place field, spikes are emitted at progressively earlier phases of the theta cycles. During immobility, hippocampus exhibits sharp irregular bursts of activity, with occasional rapid orderly activation of place cells expressing a possible trajectory of the animal. The mechanisms underlying this rich repertoire of dynamics are still unclear. We developed a novel recurrent network model that accounts for the observed phenomena. We assume that the network stores a map of the environment in its recurrent connections, which are endowed with short-term synaptic depression. We show that the network dynamics exhibits two different regimes that are similar to the experimentally observed population activity states in the hippocampus. The operating regime can be solely controlled by external inputs. Our results suggest that short-term synaptic plasticity is a potential mechanism contributing to shape the population activity in hippocampus.

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10/14/14 | Word length effect in free recall of randomly assembled word lists.
Katkov M, Romani S, Tsodyks M
Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience. 2014 Oct 14;8:129. doi: 10.3389/fncom.2014.00129

In serial recall experiments, human subjects are requested to retrieve a list of words in the same order as they were presented. In a classical study, participants were reported to recall more words from study lists composed of short words compared to lists of long words, the word length effect. The world length effect was also observed in free recall experiments, where subjects can retrieve the words in any order. Here we analyzed a large dataset from free recall experiments of unrelated words, where short and long words were randomly mixed, and found a seemingly opposite effect: long words are recalled better than the short ones. We show that our recently proposed mechanism of associative retrieval can explain both these observations. Moreover, the direction of the effect depends solely on the way study lists are composed.

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04/17/14 | Continuous attractor network model for conjunctive position-by-velocity tuning of grid cells.
Si B, Romani S, Tsodyks M
PLoS Computational Biology. 2014 Apr 17;10(4):e1003558. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003558

The spatial responses of many of the cells recorded in layer II of rodent medial entorhinal cortex (MEC) show a triangular grid pattern, which appears to provide an accurate population code for animal spatial position. In layer III, V and VI of the rat MEC, grid cells are also selective to head-direction and are modulated by the speed of the animal. Several putative mechanisms of grid-like maps were proposed, including attractor network dynamics, interactions with theta oscillations or single-unit mechanisms such as firing rate adaptation. In this paper, we present a new attractor network model that accounts for the conjunctive position-by-velocity selectivity of grid cells. Our network model is able to perform robust path integration even when the recurrent connections are subject to random perturbations.

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10/01/13 | Scaling laws of associative memory retrieval.
Romani S, Pinkoviezky I, Rubin A, Tsodyks M
Neural Computation. 2013 Oct;25(10):2523-44. doi: 10.1162/NECO_a_00499

Most people have great difficulty in recalling unrelated items. For example, in free recall experiments, lists of more than a few randomly selected words cannot be accurately repeated. Here we introduce a phenomenological model of memory retrieval inspired by theories of neuronal population coding of information. The model predicts nontrivial scaling behaviors for the mean and standard deviation of the number of recalled words for lists of increasing length. Our results suggest that associative information retrieval is a dominating factor that limits the number of recalled items.

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