Germline mutations in CYBB, the human gene encoding the gp91phox subunit of the phagocyte NADPH oxidase, impair the respiratory burst of all types of phagocytes and result in X-linked chronic granulomatous disease (CGD). We report here two kindreds in which otherwise healthy male adults developed X-linked recessive Mendelian susceptibility to mycobacterial disease (MSMD) syndromes. These patients had previously unknown mutations in CYBB that resulted in an impaired respiratory burst in monocyte-derived macrophages but not in monocytes or granulocytes. The macrophage-specific functional consequences of the germline mutation resulted from cell-specific impairment in the assembly of the NADPH oxidase. This 'experiment of nature' indicates that CYBB is associated with MSMD and demonstrates that the respiratory burst in human macrophages is a crucial mechanism for protective immunity to tuberculous mycobacteria.