Neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) is a monogenic dominantly inherited disease that predisposes to the development of tumors of the nervous system, particularly meningiomas and schwannomas. The gene which, when altered, causes NF2, is localized on chromosome 22 and has recently been identified. The NF2 gene is also the site of somatic mutation in tumors, suggesting that it might have a tumor suppressor activity. We here report a screening method for the detection of point mutations in NF2 which takes advantage of denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). This method efficiently screens 95% of the coding sequence and 90% of intron/exon junctions. When applied to 91 unrelated NF2 patients, it enabled the identification of 32 germ-line mutations. Since mutations are found in only one third of the patients, it is expected that mutations or deletions affecting the promoter and/or intronic regions of the NF2 gene occur frequently. The characterized mutations are preferentially located within the 5' half of the gene. Most of them are predicted to lead to the synthesis of a truncated protein. A search for genotype/phenotype correlations showed that, at least in this series of patients, mild manifestations of the disease were associated with mutations which preserve the C-terminal end of the protein.