Seven individuals with the diagnosis of X-linked agammaglobulinemia were analyzed for mutations in Bruton tyrosine kinase (Btk) gene at both the cDNA transcript and genomic DNA levels. In addition, maternal carrier status was determined in six of the seven families by examining X chromosome-inactivation patterns for B cells in comparison with other types of blood cells. Three categories of mutations were identified: (1) three patients have missense mutations in either the pleckstrin or SH2 domains of Btk; (2) three patients exhibit mutations at or near intron/exon splice sites, two of which represent inherited mutations within the kinase domain; and (3) one patient has inherited a 2.5-kb deletion with the loss of a DNA segment encoding three exons of the kinase domain. Variation in the lengths of Btk transcripts was evident in two patients with splice-site mutations and in the patient with the DNA deletion. Sequences of the different cDNA transcripts from the patients with 3' splice-site mutations reveal complex patterns of exon skipping involving from one to four exons of the kinase domain. These findings implicate 3' splice sites of the penultimate exon in the recognition or processing of upstream exons.