Of the many palmoplantar keratoderma (PPK) conditions, only Papillon-Lefevre syndrome (PLS) and Haim-Munk syndrome (HMS) are associated with premature periodontal destruction. Although both PLS and HMS share the cardinal features of PPK and severe periodontitis, a number of additional findings are reported in HMS including arachnodactyly, acroosteolysis, atrophic changes of the nails, and a radiographic deformity of the fingers. While PLS cases have been identified throughout the world, HMS has only been described among descendants of a religious isolate originally from Cochin, India. Parental consanguinity is a characteristic of many cases of both conditions. Although antosomal recessive transmission of PLS is evident, a more "complex" autosomal recessive pattern of inheritance with phenotypic influences from a closely linked modifying locus has been hypothesised for HRIS. Recently, mutations of the cathepsin C gene have been identified as the underlying genetic defect in PLS. Tee determine ifa cathepsin C mutation is also responsible for HMS, we sequenced the gene in affected and unaffected subjects from the Cochin isolate in which both the PLS and HMS phenotypes appear. Here we report identification of a mutation of cathepsin C (exon 6, 2127A--> Gr) that changes a highly conserved amino acid in the cathepsin C peptide. This mutation segregates with HMS in four nuclear families. Additionally, the existence of a shared C for genetic loci flanking the cathepsin C gene suggests that affected subjects descended from the Cochin isolate are homozygous for a mutation inherited "'identical by descent'" from a common ancestor. This finding supports simple aurosomal recessive inheritance for HMS in these families. We also report a mutation of the same exon 6 CTSC codon (2126C-->T) in a Turkish family with classical PLS. These findings provide evidence that PLS and HMS are allelic variants of cathepsin C gene mutations.