Mitochondrial Ca(2+) uptake has key roles in cell life and death. Physiological Ca(2+) signaling regulates aerobic metabolism, whereas pathological Ca(2+) overload triggers cell death. Mitochondrial Ca(2+) uptake is mediated by the Ca(2+) uniporter complex in the inner mitochondrial membrane, which comprises MCU, a Ca(2+)-selective ion channel, and its regulator, MICU1. Here we report mutations of MICU1 in individuals with a disease phenotype characterized by proximal myopathy, learning difficulties and a progressive extrapyramidal movement disorder. In fibroblasts from subjects with MICU1 mutations, agonist-induced mitochondrial Ca(2+) uptake at low cytosolic Ca(2+) concentrations was increased, and cytosolic Ca(2+) signals were reduced. Although resting mitochondrial membrane potential was unchanged in MICU1-deficient cells, the mitochondrial network was severely fragmented. Whereas the pathophysiology of muscular dystrophy and the core myopathies involves abnormal mitochondrial Ca(2+) handling, the phenotype associated with MICU1 deficiency is caused by a primary defect in mitochondrial Ca(2+) signaling, demonstrating the crucial role of mitochondrial Ca(2+) uptake in humans.