The prion protein (PrP) has the ability to infect a host, and that infectivity is conferred by its conformation. The concept of an infectious protein presents a fascinating subject for those interested in protein structure. Cu2+ binds to a region of PrP vital for prion propagation, suggesting that the misfolding and fibrillization of PrP may be profoundly influenced by the presence of Cu2+ ions. The normal function of the prion protein has yet to be established, but its affinity for Cu2+ also suggests a role in copper homoeostasis.

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