Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disorder primarily affecting motor neurons. The etiology of the majority of cases remains unknown. Recent findings from several laboratories suggest a role for neurofilaments in the development of motor neuron disorders. The C-terminal region of the human neurofilament heavy subunit (NEFH) contains a unique functional domain consisting of 43 repeat motifs of the amino acids Lys-Ser-Pro (KSP). This C-terminal region of NEFH forms the sidearm projections which cross-link the neurofilaments. Previously, we have demonstrated polymorphism in the C-terminal region of the human NEFH: an allelic variant of a slightly larger molecular size, containing an additional KSP phosphorylation motif. Novel mutations in this region were found in five ALS patients. We propose that changes in the KSP-repeat domain may affect the cross-linking properties of the heavy neurofilament subunit and perhaps contribute to the development of neurofilamentous swellings in motor neurons, a hallmark of ALS.