The 2818 amino acids of neurofibromin, the product of the human NF1 gene, include a 230 amino acid Ras-GAP related domain (GRD). Functions which may be associated with the rest of the protein remain unknown. However, many NF1 mutations in neurofibromatosis 1 patients are found downstream of the GRD, suggesting that the C-terminal region of the protein is also functionally important. Since the C-terminal region of neurofibromin encompassing these mutations is homologous with the corresponding regions in the two Saccharomyces cerevisiae Ras-GAPs, Ira1p and Ira2p, we chose yeast as a model system for functional exploration of this region (Ira-C region). Three missense mutations that affect the Ira-C region of NF1 were used as a model for the mutagenesis of IRA1. The yeast phenotypes of heat shock sensitivity, iodine staining, sporulation efficiency, pseudohyphae formation, and GAP activity were scored. Even though none of the mutations directly affected the Ira1p-GRD, mutations at two of the three sites resulted in a decrease in the GAP activity present in ira1 cells. The third mutation appeared to disassociate the phenotypes of sporulation ability and GAP activity. This and other evidence suggest an effector function for Ira1p.