Different 8-hydroxyquinolines protect models of TDP-43 protein, α-synuclein, and polyglutamine proteotoxicity through distinct mechanisms

Academic Article


  • No current therapies target the underlying cellular pathologies of age-related neurodegenerative diseases. Model organisms provide a platform for discovering compounds that protect against the toxic, misfolded proteins that initiate these diseases. One such protein, TDP-43, is implicated in multiple neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. In yeast, TDP-43 expression is toxic, and genetic modifiers first discovered in yeast have proven to modulate TDP-43 toxicity in both neurons and humans. Here, we describe a phenotypic screen for small molecules that reverse TDP-43 toxicity in yeast. One group of hit compounds was 8-hydroxyquinolines (8-OHQ), a class of clinically relevant bioactive metal chelators related to clioquinol. Surprisingly, in otherwise wild-type yeast cells, different 8-OHQs had selectivity for rescuing the distinct toxicities caused by the expression of TDP-43, α-synuclein, or polyglutamine proteins. In fact, each 8-OHQ synergized with the other, clearly establishing that they function in different ways. Comparative growth and molecular analyses also revealed that 8-OHQs have distinct metal chelation and ionophore activities. The diverse bioactivity of 8-OHQs indicates that altering different aspects of metal homeostasis and/or metalloprotein activity elicits distinct protective mechanisms against several neurotoxic proteins. Indeed, phase II clinical trials of an 8-OHQ has produced encouraging results in modifying Alzheimer disease. Our unbiased identification of 8-OHQs in a yeast TDP-43 toxicity model suggests that tailoring 8-OHQ activity to a particular neurodegenerative disease may be a viable therapeutic strategy. © 2012 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Tardiff DF; Tucci ML; Caldwell KA; Caldwell GA; Lindquist S
  • Start Page

  • 4107
  • End Page

  • 4120
  • Volume

  • 287
  • Issue

  • 6