Hirschsprung's disease (HSCR) is characterized by an absence of enteric ganglia in the distal colon and a failure of innervation in the gastrointestinal tract. We recently mapped a recessive susceptibility locus (HSCR2) to human chromosome 13q22, which we now demonstrate to be the endothelin-B receptor gene (EDNRB). We identified in HSCR patients a G-->T missense mutation in EDNRB exon 4 that substitutes the highly conserved Trp-276 residue in the fifth transmembrane helix of the G protein-coupled receptor with a Cys residue (W276C). The mutant W276C receptor exhibited a partial impairment of ligand-induced Ca2+ transient levels in transfected cells. The mutation is dosage sensitive, in that W276C homozygotes and heterozygotes have a 74% and a 21% risk, respectively, of developing HSCR. Genotype analysis of patients in a Mennonite pedigree shows HSCR to be a multigenic disorder.