The hereditary spastic paraplegias (HSPs) are genetically heterogeneous disorders characterized by progressive lower-extremity weakness and spasticity. The molecular pathogenesis is poorly understood. We report discovery of a dominant negative mutation in the NIPA1 gene in a kindred with autosomal dominant HSP (ADHSP), linked to chromosome 15q11-q13 (SPG6 locus); and precisely the same mutation in an unrelated kindred with ADHSP that was too small for meaningful linkage analysis. NIPA1 is highly expressed in neuronal tissues and encodes a putative membrane transporter or receptor. Identification of the NIPA1 function and ligand will aid an understanding of axonal neurodegeneration in HSP and may have important therapeutic implications.