Prion diseases are infectious and belong to the group of protein misfolding neurodegenerative diseases. In these diseases, neuronal dysfunction and death are caused by the neuronal toxicity of a particular misfolded form of their cognate protein. The ability to specifically target the toxic protein conformer or the neuronal death pathway would provide powerful therapeutic approaches to these diseases. The neurotoxic forms of the prion protein (PrP) have yet to be defined but there is evidence suggesting that at least some of them differ from infectious PrP (PrP(Sc)). Herein, without making an assumption about size or conformation, we searched for toxic forms of recombinant PrP after dilution refolding, size fractionation, and systematic biological testing of all fractions. We found that the PrP species most neurotoxic in vitro and in vivo (toxic PrP, TPrP) is a monomeric, highly α-helical form of PrP. TPrP caused autophagy, apoptosis, and a molecular signature remarkably similar to that observed in the brains of prion-infected animals. Interestingly, highly α-helical intermediates have been described for other amyloidogenic proteins but their biological significance remains to be established. We provide unique experimental evidence that a monomeric α-helical form of an amyloidogenic protein represents a cytotoxic species. Although toxic PrP has yet to be purified from prion-infected brains, TPrP might be the equivalent of one highly neurotoxic PrP species generated during prion replication. Because TPrP is a misfolded, highly neurotoxic form of PrP reproducing several features of prion-induced neuronal death, it constitutes a useful model to study PrP-induced neurodegenerative mechanisms.