beta-Sarcoglycan, a 43 kDa dystrophin-associated glycoprotein, is an integral component of the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex. We have cloned human beta-sarcoglycan cDNA and mapped the beta-sarcoglycan gene to chromosome 4q12. Pericentromeric markers and an intragenic polymorphic CA repeat cosegregated perfectly with autosomal recessive limb-girdle muscular dystrophy in several Amish families. A Thr-to-Arg missense mutation was identified within the beta-sarcoglycan gene that leads to a dramatically reduced expression of beta-sarcoglycan in the sarcolemma and a concomitant loss of adhalin and 35 DAG, which may represent a disruption of a functional subcomplex within the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex. Thus, the beta-sarcoglycan gene is the fifth locus identified (LGMD2E) that is involved in autosomal recessive limb-girdle muscular dystrophy.