Coffin-Lowry syndrome (CLS) is an X-linked disorder characterized by facial dysmorphism, digit abnormalities and severe psychomotor retardation. CLS had previously been mapped to Xp22.2. Recently, mutations in the ribosomal S6 kinase (Rsk-2) gene were shown to be associated with CLS. We have tested five unrelated individuals with CLS for mutations in nine exons of Rsk-2 using Single Strand Conformation Polymorphism (SSCP) analysis. Two patients had the same missense mutation (C340T), which causes an arginine to tryptophan change (R114W). This mutation falls just outside the N-terminal ATP-binding site in a highly conserved region of the protein and may lead to structural changes since tryptophan has an aromatic side chain whereas arginine is a 5 carbon basic amino acid. The third patient also had a missense mutation (G2186A) resulting in an arginine to glutamine change (R729Q). The fourth patient had a 2bp deletion (AG) of bases 451 and 452. This creates a frameshift that results in a stop codon 25 amino acids downstream, thereby producing a truncated protein. This deletion also falls within the highly conserved amino-catalytic domain of the protein. The fifth patient has a nonsense mutation (C2065T) which results in a premature stop codon, thereby producing a truncated protein. These mutations further confirm Rsk-2 as the gene involved in CLS and may help in understanding the structure and function of the protein.