We describe a family with three cases of "clinically incomplete mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis, and strokelike episodes (MELAS) syndrome" in which heteroplasmic tRNA(Leu(UUR)) mutation at nucleotide 3243 of the mitochondrial DNA was present in three generations. The amount of mutant genome varied among tissues: it was 60% in the kidney, 72% in the cardiac muscle, and 91% in the liver of the female proband's affected brother and 63% in the kidney, 71% in the cardiac muscle, and 71% in the liver of the female proband's perinatally deceased son. The tRNA(Leu(UUR)) mutation was also carried by the siblings of the proband's affected mother. None of them had any clinical signs of MELAS syndrome. This syndrome has the new feature of being associated with adult-onset diabetes mellitus, neurosensory hearing loss, and short stature.