Complex I deficiency is a frequent cause of mitochondrial disease as it accounts for one third of these disorders. By genotyping several putative disease loci using microsatellite markers we were able to describe a new NDUFS7 mutation in a consanguineous family with Leigh syndrome and isolated complex I deficiency. This mutation lies in the first intron of the NDUFS7 gene (c.17-1167 C>G) and creates a strong donor splice site resulting in the generation of a cryptic exon. This mutation is predicted to result in a shortened mutant protein of 41 instead of 213 amino acids containing only the first five amino acids of the normal protein. Analysis of the assembly state of the respiratory chain complexes under native condition revealed a marked decrease of fully assembled complex I while the quantity of the other complexes was not altered. These results report the first intronic NDUFS7 gene mutation and demonstrate the crucial role of NDUFS7 in the biogenesis of complex I.