Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive and ultimately fatal neurodegenerative disease. Pyrazolone containing small molecules have shown significant disease attenuating efficacy in cellular and murine models of ALS. Pyrazolone based affinity probes were synthesized to identify high affinity binding partners and ascertain a potential biological mode of action. Probes were confirmed to be neuroprotective in PC12-SOD1(G93A) cells. PC12-SOD1(G93A) cell lysates were used for protein pull-down, affinity purification, and subsequent proteomic analysis using LC-MS/MS. Proteomics identified the 26S proteasome regulatory subunit 4 (PSMC1), 26S proteasome regulatory subunit 6B (PSMC4), and T-complex protein 1 (TCP-1) as putative protein targets. Coincubation with appropriate competitors confirmed the authenticity of the proteomics results. Activation of the proteasome by pyrazolones was demonstrated in the absence of exogenous proteasome inhibitor and by restoration of cellular protein degradation of a fluorogenic proteasome substrate in PC12-SOD1(G93A) cells. Importantly, supplementary studies indicated that these molecules do not induce a heat shock response. We propose that pyrazolones represent a rare class of molecules that enhance proteasomal activation in the absence of a heat shock response and may have therapeutic potential in ALS.