X-linked hypophosphatemic rickets (HYP) is a dominant disorder characterised by impaired phosphate uptake in the kidney, which is likely to be caused by abnormal regulation of sodium phosphate cotransport in the proximal tubules. By positional cloning, we have isolated a candidate gene from the HYP region in Xp22.1. This gene exhibits homology to a family of endopeptidase genes, members of which are involved in the degradation or activation of a variety of peptide hormones. This gene (which we have called PEX) is composed of multiple exons which span at least five cosmids. Intragenic non-overlapping deletions from four different families and three mutations (two splice sites and one frameshift) have been detected in HYP patients, which suggest that the PEX gene is involved in the HYP disorder.