Familial hyperparathyroidism (HPT), characterized by hypercalcemia and hypercalciuria, and familial benign hypocalciuric hypercalcemia (FHH) are the most common causes of hereditary hypercalcemia. The calcium-sensing receptor (CaR) regulates PTH secretion and renal calcium excretion. Heterozygous inactivating mutations of the gene cause FHH, whereas CaR gene mutations have not been demonstrated in HPT. In a kindred with 20 affected individuals, the hypercalcemic disorder segregated with inappropriately higher serum PTH and magnesium levels and urinary calcium levels than in unaffected members. Subtotal parathyroidectomy revealed parathyroid gland hyperplasia/adenoma and corrected the biochemical signs of the disorder in seven of nine individuals. Linkage analysis mapped the condition to markers flanking the CaR gene on chromosome 3q. Sequence analysis revealed a mutation changing phenylalanine to leucine at codon 881 of the CaR gene, representing the first identified point mutation located within the cytoplasmic tail of the CaR. A construct of the mutant receptor (F881L) was expressed in human embryonic kidney cells (HEK 293), and demonstrated a right-shifted dose-response relationship between the extracellular and intracellular calcium concentrations. The hypercalcemic disorder of the present family is caused by an inactivating point mutation in the cytoplasmic tail of the CaR and displays clinical characteristics atypical of FHH and primary HPT.