The N-acetylgalactosamine-6-sulfate sulfatase (GALNS) gene, which is responsible for autosomal recessive mucopolysaccharidosis IVA (MPSIVA), has been assigned to the long arm of chromosome 16, subregion 24.3, an area where the adenine phosophoribosyltransferase (APRT) gene and renal dipeptidase (DPEP I) gene are also localized. Molecular genetic studies on a severely affected patient with MPSIVA (Morquio disease), without karyotypic abnormality, revealed a partial submicroscopic deletion of 16q24.3 and a single point mutation on the other allele, with no functional GALNS activity. The patient, his mother, and siblings were hemizygous for GALNS and APRT loci, evidenced by informative RFLP and gene dosage analyses combined with a fluorescence in situ hybridization, utilizing a partial genomic clone of GALNS, but heterozygosity was retained at the DPEP I locus and proximal D16S7. Haplotyping of the family members revealed recombinational events between DPEP I locus and three other polymorphic loci on the paternal chromosome, localizing GALNS gene on the proximal side to DPEP I gene. As estimated from the genetic distance between two flanking markers of proximal D16S7 and distal DPEP I locus, size of the deletion was less than 3Mb. Mother of the boy and two older siblings were asymptomatic, despite this interstitial deletion of the Giemsa-light G band. The remaining paternal allele had no gene rearrangement but GALNS activity was not encoded as Arginine at 386 was replaced with Cysteine (R386C), suggesting this alteration accounts for the severe phenotype. Allelic loss of APRT is frequently observed in cancer tissues, thereby suggesting that the tumor suppressor gene locates near the APRT locus. No family member has evidence of any malignant disease. This study is apparently the first documentation of interstitial deletion of 16q24.3, involving GALNS and APRT genes.