The copper rush of the nineties
The nineties witnessed the discovery of the copper ATPases, enzymes which transport copper across the cytoplasmic membranes of bacteria and eukaryotes. In the same decade, several other key components of copper homeostasis have also been discovered, like copper chaperones and plasma membrane copper transporters. This has finally led to a molecular understanding of two inherited human diseases related to copper: Menkes disease, manifested by systemic copper deficiency, and Wilson disease, caused by defective secretion of excess copper. A historic perspective and untold stories of the events leading up to these discoveries are presented here.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Mammalian Copper Transport and Related Disorders