Vaccaro, A., Patten, S.A., Ciura, S., Maios, C., Therrien, M., Drapeau, P., Kabashi, E., and Parker, J.A. (2012) Methylene Blue Protects against TDP-43 and FUS Neuronal Toxicity in C. elegans and D. rerio. PLoS One. 7(7):e42117.
The DNA/RNA-binding proteins TDP-43 and FUS are found in protein aggregates in a growing number of neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and related dementia, but little is known about the neurotoxic mechanisms. We have generated Caenorhabditis elegans and zebrafish animal models expressing mutant human TDP-43 (A315T or G348C) or FUS (S57”Δ or R521H) that reflect certain aspects of ALS including motor neuron degeneration, axonal deficits, and progressive paralysis. To explore the potential of our humanized transgenic C. elegans and zebrafish in identifying chemical suppressors of mutant TDP-43 and FUS neuronal toxicity, we tested three compounds with potential neuroprotective properties: lithium chloride, methylene blue and riluzole. We identified methylene blue as a potent suppressor of TDP-43 and FUS toxicity in both our models. Our results indicate that methylene blue can rescue toxic phenotypes associated with mutant TDP-43 and FUS including neuronal dysfunction and oxidative stress.