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Ya-Hui Chou|Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology, Academia Sinica

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  • Ya-Hui Chou
    Associate Research Fellow
    • SpecialtyDevelopmental Neurobiology, Neuronal circuitry, Insect Behavior
    • E-mailyhchou@gate.sinica.edu.tw
    • Tel02-2789-9540
    • Website Neural circuitry and behavior
    • LabR202/ICOB
Professional ExperienceOpenClose
Associate Research Fellow, Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
Assistant Research Fellow, Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Biology, Stanford University, USA
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Institute of Molecular Biology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
PhD. Institute of Molecular Biology, Academia Sinica and Institute of Life Science, National Defense Medical Center, Taiwan
Research InterestOpenClose

Although sculpted by similar developmental programs, individuals in a given species exhibit great variation in their genetic composition and behavioral patterns. How genetic, environmental, and experience-dependent factors collectively shape our brain circuits (thus individuality) is one of the central questions of biology. Our research attempts to understand how neuronal diversity and variability arise, how they contribute to neuronal circuit activity, dynamics, and behavioral outputs, and how experience shapes the variability of the neuronal circuit. Specifically, we try to explore the underlying mechanisms involved in neuronal variability in the fruit fly olfactory system, with a particular focus on the development, organization, variation and function of the local interneuron network. 

Development of local interneuron diversity. Olfactory local interneurons (LNs) form extensive synapses with different neurons in the antennal lobe (AL) to modulate odor information and exhibit extensive diversity and variability. We have built the developmental map of LNs and reagents to label several different types of LNs (Fig. 1). Three unbiased forward genetic screens to search for molecules involved in the LN development and wiring were conducted. Currently we are exploring the development of distinct types of LNs and the underlying molecular mechanisms. 

Local interneuron variability. The fact that Drosophila LNs exhibit variability across individuals offers an unprecedented opportunity to study the mechanisms that give rise to neuronal variability and the consequences of such variability on behavior. We recently demonstrated that a single identified LN can exhibit as many as 849 distinct innervation patterns, which are the results of developmental noise, sexual dimorphism, age and experience-induced plasticity. We are currently exploring the variability of distinct types of LNs with the reagents we built.

Modeling the function and dynamics of local interneuron network. With the powerful genetic tools we built, we can temporally label and manipulate single local interneurons. We are using calcium imaging system, optogenetic systems, different self-built behavioral paradigms (Fig 2), machine learning and mathematical modeling to address whether LN innervation variability leads to any variation in circuit activity, dynamics, and behaviors.

Selected PublicationOpenClose
Chou, Y.H.*, Yang, C.J., Huang, H.W., Liou, N.F., Panganiban, M.R., Luginbuhl, D., Yin, Y., Taisz, I., Liang, L., Jefferis, G.S.X.E., Luo, L. (2022) Mating-driven Variability in Olfactory Local Interneuron Wiring. Science Advances. 8, eabm7723. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abm7723
Tsai, K.T., Chou, Y.H.* (2022) Drosophila as a model to explore individuality. Behavioral Neurogenetics. Daisuke Yamamoto Editor. Humana Press, Springer Science. (Invited book chapter) (In press)
Tsai, K.T., Chou, Y.H.* (2019) Random walk revisited: quantification and comparative analysis of Drosophila walking trajectories. iScience 19, 1145-1159. (DOI: 10.1016/j.isci.2019.08.054) 
Chen, Y.J., Chang, H.H., Lin, S.H., Lin, T.Y., Wu, T.H., Lin, H.J., Liou, N.F., Yang, C.J., Chen, Y.T., Chang, K.H., Li, C.Y., Chou, Y.H.* (2019) Differential efficacy of genetically swapping GAL4. J. Neurogenetics 33, 52-63. (DOI: 10.1080/01677063.2018.1564289)

Liou, N.F.#, Lin, S.H.#, Chen, Y.J.#, Tsai, K.T.&, Yang, C.J.&, Lin, T.Y., Wu, T.H., Lin, H.J., Chen, Y.T., Gohl, D.M., Silies, M., Chou, Y.H.* (2018) Diverse populations of local interneurons integrate into the Drosophila adult olfactory circuit. Nature Communications9, 2232. DOI:10.1038/s41467-018-04675-x

Recommended by F1000Prime. Hiesinger P:F1000Prime, 10.3410 (Dec. 2018) 10.3410/f.733424303.793554440

Tsai, K.T., Hu, C.K., Li, K.W., Hwang, W.L., Chou, Y.H.* (2018) Circuit variability interacts with excitatory-inhibitory diversity of interneurons to regulate network encoding capacity. Scientific Reports 8, 8027. (DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-26286-8>
Wu, B., Li J., Chou, Y.H., Luginbuhl D., and Luo L. (2017) Fibroblast growth factor signaling instructs ensheathing glia warpping of Drosophila olfactory glomeruli. PNAS 114, 7505-7512. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1706533114
Sweeney, L.B., Chou, Y.H.#, Wu, Z.#, Joo W.#, Komiyama, T., Potter, C.J., Kolodkin, A., Garcia, K.C., and Luo, L. (2011) Secreted Semaphorins from degenerating larval ORN axons direct adult projection neuron dendrite targeting. Neuron 72, 734-747. DOI:10.1016/j.neuron.2011.09.026

Chou, Y.H., Zheng, X., Beachy, P.A. and Luo, L.* (2010) Patterning axon targeting of olfactory receptor neurons by coupled Hedgehog signaling at two distinct steps. Cell 142, 954-966. (DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2010.08.015)

(Featured in Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Research Highlights. (Nov. 2010))


Chou, Y.H.‡, Spletter, M.L.‡, Yaksi, E.‡, Leong, J.C.S., Wilson, R.I.* and Luo, L.* (2010) Diversity and wiring variability of olfactory local interneurons in the Drosophila antennal lobe. Nature Neuroscience 13, 439-449. (DOI: 10.1038/nn.2489)

(Featured on the cover)