Many proteins associated with neurodegenerative diseases have poorly defined or unknown functions. α-Synuclein is one such protein which is associated with a range of diseases including Parkinson's disease. Now accepted as a metal-binding protein, α-synuclein's function could possibly be defined in relation to the binding of cofactors. It has been suggested recently that α-synuclein is able to reduce iron using copper as its catalytic centre. The consequence of this is that possibly the function of α-synuclein can now be defined. The evidence for this and the consequences for Parkinson's disease are discussed in the present review.