We identified two different exonic point mutations causing beta-glucuronidase (beta G1) deficiency in two Japanese patients with mucopolysaccharidosis type VII (MPSVII). Enzyme assay of lysates of the lymphocytes and cultured fibroblasts showed little residual activity. The beta G1-specific mRNA levels were normal, as determined by northern blot analysis. Mutated cDNA clones, including the entire coding sequence, were isolated using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products derived from beta G1-deficient fibroblasts. Sequence analysis of the full-length mutated cDNAs showed C----T transitions, which resulted in a single Ala619----Val change (case 1, a 24-year-old male) and a Arg382----Cys change (case 2, a 7-year-old female). The former change was revealed by a loss of the cleavage site for the Fnu4HI in the mutated cDNA. On the basis of the loss of Fnu4HI restriction site, the patient (case 1) was a homozygote with this mutation. The mutational change in patient 2 was confirmed by direct sequencing and by demonstrating heterozygosity for the mutation in her parents. The Ala619----Val and Arg382----Cys mutations each disrupt a different domain which is highly conserved among human, rat, and Escherichia coli beta G1s. Each of these two amino acid changes reduced the beta G1 activity of the corresponding mutant beta G1 expressed following transfection of COS cells with expression vectors harboring the mutated cDNAs.