Dynamics of Place, Boundary and Object Encoding In Rat Anterior Claustrum – our latest paper available for download
We have a new paper which explores the functions of the claustrum – an anatomically substantial but largely unexplored and uninvestigated structure. Francis Crick, in his final paper, famously suggested that the claustrum had a ‘possible relationship to the processes that give rise to integrated conscious percepts’ (i.e. that it was responsible in some way for orchestrating the activity that gives rise to consciousness in the brain).
We have quite a different take on the functions of the claustrum – we suggest that instead it has a previously unrecognised role in the representation of 3d space in the brain, and in the conjoint encoding of object and spatial information.
Discrete populations of brain cells signal differing types of spatial information. These ‘spatial cells’ are largely confined to a closely-connected network of sites. We describe here, for the first time, cells in the anterior claustrum of the freely-moving rat encoding place, boundary and object information. This novel claustral spatial signal potentially directly modulates a wide variety of anterior cortical regions. We hypothesise that one of the functions of the claustrum is to provide information about body position, boundaries and landmark information, enabling dynamic control of behaviour.