Cells Overexpressing ALS-Associated SOD1 Variants Are Differentially Susceptible to CuATSM-Associated Toxicity

Publication Name

ACS Chemical Neuroscience


CuATSM has repeatedly demonstrated to be therapeutically effective in SOD1 mouse models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), leading to current clinical trials. CuATSM acts to stabilize ALS-associated mutant SOD1 protein by supplying copper. However, in vitro work has demonstrated that CuATSM is only therapeutic for wild-type-like SOD1 mutants, not metal-binding-region mutants, suggesting that CuATSM may have genotype-specific effects. Furthermore, relatively high doses of CuATSM have been shown to produce adverse events in humans and mice. Here, we investigated the genotype-specific therapeutic window of CuATSM. NSC-34 cells transiently expressing copper-binding or non-binding mutations of SOD1 were treated with a broad range of CuATSM concentrations and examined for survival via time-lapse microscopy. Determination of the no-observed-adverse-effect level and the LC50 suggest that CuATSM-associated toxicity is dependent on the amount of copper-depleted SOD1 available as well as the mutant's ability to bind copper. Our results suggest that the particular variant of SOD1 mutant is crucial in not only determining the level of efficacy achieved but also potential adverse events.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access

Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

National Health and Medical Research Council



Link to publisher version (DOI)