X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (XLRP) results from mutations in at least two different loci, designated RP2 and RP3, located at Xp11.3 and Xp21.1, respectively. The RP3 gene was recently isolated by positional cloning, whereas the RP2 locus was mapped genetically to a 5-cM interval. We have screened this region for genomic rearrangements by the YAC representation hybridization (YRH) technique and detected a LINE1 (L1) insertion in one XLRP patient. The L1 retrotransposition occurred in an intron of a novel gene that consisted of five exons and encoded a polypeptide of 350 amino acids. Subsequently, nonsense, missense and frameshift mutations, as well as two small deletions, were identified in six additional patients. The predicted gene product shows homology with human cofactor C, a protein involved in the ultimate step of beta-tubulin folding. Our data provide evidence that mutations in this gene, designated RP2, are responsible for progressive retinal degeneration.