The molecular basis of copper-transport diseases

Trends Mol Med. 2001 Feb;7(2):64-9. doi: 10.1016/s1471-4914(01)01920-7.


Copper (Cu) is a potentially toxic yet essential element. MENKES DISEASE, a copper deficiency disorder, and WILSON DISEASE, a copper toxicosis condition, are two human genetic disorders, caused by mutations of two closely related Cu-transporting ATPases. Both molecules efflux copper from cells. Quite diverse clinical phenotypes are produced by different mutations of these two Cu-transporting proteins. The understanding of copper homeostasis has become increasingly important in clinical medicine as the metal could be involved in the pathogenesis of some important neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, motor neurone diseases and prion diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Copper / metabolism*
  • Copper / pharmacokinetics*
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Hepatolenticular Degeneration / genetics
  • Hepatolenticular Degeneration / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Menkes Kinky Hair Syndrome / genetics
  • Menkes Kinky Hair Syndrome / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • X Chromosome / genetics


  • Copper