The blepharophimosis syndrome (BPES) is a rare genetic disorder characterized by blepharophimosis, ptosis, epicanthus inversus, and telecanthus. In type I, BPES is associated with female infertility, while in type II, the eyelid defect occurs by itself. The BPES syndrome has been mapped to 3q23. Previously, we constructed a YAC-, PAC-, and cosmidbased physical map surrounding the 3q23 translocation breakpoint of a t(3;4)(q23;p15.2) BPES patient, containing a 110-kb PAC (169-C 10) and a 43-kb cosmid (11-L 10) spanning the breakpoint. In this report, we present the identification of BPESC1 (BPES candidate 1), a novel candidate gene that is disrupted by the translocation on chromosome 3. Cloning of the cDNA has been performed starting from a testis-specific EST, AI032396, found in cosmid 11-L 10. The cDNA sequence of BPESC1 is 3518 bp in size and contains an open reading frame of 351 bp. No significant similarities with known proteins have been found in the sequence databases. BPESC1 contains three exons and spans a genomic fragment of 17.5 kb. Expression of BPESC1 was observed in adult testis tissue. We performed mutation analysis in 28 unrelated familial and sporadic BPES patients, but, apart from the disruption by the translocation, found no other disease-causing mutations. These data make it unlikely that BPESC1 plays a major role in the pathogenesis of BPES. (C) 2000 Academic Press.