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Acquisition of temporal order requires an intact CA3 commissural/associational (C/A) feedback system in mice.


Episodic memory, an essential element of orderly thinking, requires the organization of serial events into narratives about the identity of cues along with their locations and temporal order (what, where, and when). The hippocampus plays a central role in the acquisition and retrieval of episodes with two of its subsystems being separately linked to what and where information. The substrates for the third element are poorly understood. Here we report that in hippocampal slices field CA3 maintains self-sustained activity for remarkable periods following a brief input and that this effect is extremely sensitive to minor network perturbations. Using behavioral tests, that do not involve training or explicit rewards, we show that partial silencing of the CA3 commissural/associational network in mice blocks acquisition of temporal order, but not the identity or location, of odors. These results suggest a solution to the question of how hippocampus adds time to episodic memories.

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