We report on 4 male patients with clinical, radiological, and muscle biopsy findings typical of the mitochondrial encephalomyopathy with lactic acidosis and stroke-like episodes (MELAS) phenotype. Skeletal muscle mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis showed that all patients harbored a heteroplasmic G13513A mutation in the ND5 subunit gene. One of these cases (Patient 1) presented with symptoms characteristic of Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) 2 years before the first stroke-like episode. Quantitative analysis in several postmortem tissue sections showed that the relative proportions of mutant mtDNA were generally lower than those reported with other pathogenic mtDNA mutations. Single-fiber polymerase chain reaction studies demonstrated significantly higher amounts of mutant mtDNA in ragged red fibers (RRFs) compared with non-RRFs. This study indicates that the G13513A transition is likely to be pathogenic, that it can cause an LHON/MELAS overlap syndrome, and that it may be a more frequent cause of MELAS than previously recognized.