Rett syndrome (RTT) is a neurodevelopmental disorder caused by mutations in the X-linked MECP2 gene encoding methyl CpG binding protein 2 (MeCP2). Recently, a new isoform of MeCP2 including exon 1 was identified. This new isoform is more abundantly expressed in brain than the isoform including exons 2-4. Very little is known about the phenotypes associated with mutations in exon 1 of MECP2 since only a limited number of RTT patients carrying such mutations have been identified so far. In this study, we screened a cohort of 20 girls with RTT for exon 1 mutations by sequencing and multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA). We identified one girl with a novel exon 1 mutation (c.30delCinsGA) by sequencing and three with genomic rearrangements by MLPA. Comparison of the phenotypes showed that the girls carrying a mutation or rearrangement encompassing exon 1 were more severely affected than the girls with rearrangements not affecting exon 1.