The RPGR (retinitis pigmentosa GTPase regulator) gene has been shown to be mutated in 10-20% of patients with X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (XLRP), a severe form of inherited progressive retinal degeneration. A total of 29 different RPGR mutations have been identified in northern European and United States patients. We have performed mutation analysis of the RPGR gene in a cohort of 49 southern European males affected with XLRP. By multiplex SSCA and automatic direct sequencing of all 19 RPGR exons, seven different and novel mutations were identified in eight of the 49 families; these include three splice site mutations, two microdeletions, and two missense mutations. RNA analysis showed that the three splice site defects resulted in the generation of aberrant RPGR transcripts. Six of these mutations were detected in the conserved amino-terminal region of RPGR protein, containing tandem repeats homologous to the RCC1 protein, a guanine nucleotide-exchange factor for Ran-GTPase. Several exonic and intronic sequence variations were also detected. None of the RPGR mutations reported in other populations were identified in our series. Our results are consistent with the notions of heterogeneity and minority causation of XLRP by mutations in RPGR in Caucasian populations.