Mutations in the uroporphyrinogen III synthase (UROS) gene cause congenital erythropoietic porphyria (CEP), an autosomal-recessive inborn error of erythroid heme biosynthesis. Clinical features of CEP include dermatologic and hematologic abnormalities of variable severity. The discovery of a new type of erythroid porphyria, X-linked dominant protoporphyria (XLDPP), which results from increased activity of 5-aminolevulinate synthase 2 (ALAS2), the rate-controlling enzyme of erythroid heme synthesis, led us to hypothesize that the CEP phenotype may be modulated by sequence variations in the ALAS2 gene. We genotyped ALAS2 in 4 unrelated CEP patients exhibiting the same C73R/P248Q UROS genotype. The most severe of the CEP patients, a young girl, proved to be heterozygous for a novel ALAS2 mutation: c.1757 A > T in exon 11. This mutation is predicted to affect the highly conserved and penultimate C-terminal amino acid of ALAS2 (Y586). The rate of 5-aminolevulinate release from Y586F was significantly increased over that of wild-type ALAS2. The contribution of the ALAS2 gain-of-function mutation to the CEP phenotype underscores the importance of modifier genes underlying CEP. We propose that ALAS2 gene mutations should be considered not only as causative of X-linked sideroblastic anemia (XLSA) and XLDPP but may also modulate gene function in other erythropoietic disorders.