Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH):ubiquinone oxidoreductase (complex I) is the largest multiprotein enzyme complex of the respiratory chain. The nuclear-encoded NDUFS8 (TYKY) subunit of complex I is highly conserved among eukaryotes and prokaryotes and contains two 4Fe4S ferredoxin consensus patterns, which have long been thought to provide the binding site for the iron-sulfur cluster N-2. The NDUFS8 cDNA contains an open reading frame of 633 bp, coding for 210 amino acids. Cycle sequencing of amplified NDUFS8 cDNA of 20 patients with isolated enzymatic complex I deficiency revealed two compound heterozygous transitions in a patient with neuropathologically proven Leigh syndrome. The first mutation was a C236T (P79L), and the second mutation was a G305A (R102H). Both mutations were absent in 70 control alleles and cosegregated within the family. A progressive clinical phenotype proceeding to death in the first months of life was expressed in the patient. In the 19 other patients with enzymatic complex I deficiency, no mutations were found in the NDUFS8 cDNA. This article describes the first molecular genetic link between a nuclear-encoded subunit of complex I and Leigh syndrome.