The Molecular Basis of Copper Homeostasis Copper-Related Disorders

Llanos, Roxana M.; Mercer, Julian F.B.
April 2002
DNA & Cell Biology;Apr2002, Vol. 21 Issue 4, p259
Academic Journal
Copper is an essential trace element that can be extremely toxic in excess due to the pro-oxidant activity of copper ions. Inherited disorders of copper transport, Menkes disease (copper deficiency), and Wilson disease (copper toxicosis) are caused by mutations of two closely related Cu transporting-ATPases, and demonstrate the essentiality and potential toxicity of copper. Other copper toxicosis conditions in humans and animals have been described, but are not well understood at a molecular level. Copper homeostatic mechanisms are being discovered. One such mechanism is copper-induced trafficking of the Cu-ATPases, which allows cells to provide copper to secreted cupro-proteins but also to efflux excess copper. Oxidative damage induced by copper may be involved in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and prion diseases.


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