Beta-mannosidosis is an autosomal recessive lysosomal storage disease resulting from a deficiency of the lysosomal enzyme beta-mannosidase. The clinical manifestations of this disease in reported human cases are very heterogeneous ranging from relatively mild to moderately severe. This is in contrast with the severe prenatal onset seen in ruminant beta-mannosidosis. In humans, mental retardation, hearing loss, frequent infections, and behavioral problems are relatively common. Dysmorphology and skeletal involvement such as those seen in ruminants are unusual. The purpose of this study is to determine the range of clinical expression in human beta-mannosidosis resulting from null mutations. We determined that the beta-mannosidase gene consists of 17 exons. Intron-based PCR primers were designed and used to amplify each of the exons in genomic DNA isolated from patient fibroblasts. We identified two patients with null mutations. Results of the analysis showed that one patient was heterozygous for nonsense mutations G334T (E83X) in exon 2 and C1363T (Q426X) in exon 10, resulting in truncation of the deduced peptide sequence from 879 to 82 and 425 amino acids, respectively. The second patient was homozygous for a deletion mutation in exon 11 (1541delAT). This deletion causes a reading frame shift and 26 out of frame amino acids before a stop codon occurs in exon 12, resulting in truncation of the deduced peptide sequence from 879 to 510 amino acids. Because disease presentation in these patients with null mutations is very variable, ranging from mild to severe, we conclude that beta-mannosidosis in humans may indeed be milder than typical of other lysosomal storage disorders.