DiGeorge syndrome (DGS) is the most common human chromosomal deletion syndrome and is frequently associated with deletions on chromosome 22q11. Approximately 17% of patients with the phenotypic features of this syndrome have no detectable genomic deletion. Animal studies using mouse models have implicated Tbx1 as a critical gene within the commonly deleted region, and several mutations in TBX1 have been identified recently in non-deleted patients, including missense and frameshift mutations. The mechanisms by which these mutations cause disease have remained unclear. We have identified a previously unrecognized and novel nuclear localization signal (NLS) at the C-terminus of Tbx1 that is deleted by the 1223delC mutation, thus explaining the mechanism of disease in these patients. This NLS is conserved across species, among a subfamily of T-box proteins including Brachyury and Tbx10, and among additional nuclear proteins. By providing functional data to indicate loss-of-function produced by the 1223delC TBX1 mutation, our results provide strong support for the conclusion that TBX1 mutations can cause DGS in humans.