Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MENI) is a promising model to understand endocrine and other tumors. Its most common endocrine expressions are tumors of parathyroids, entero-pancreatic neuro-endocrine tissue, and anterior pituitary. Recently, collagenomas and multiple angiofibromas of the dermis also have been recognized as very common. MEN1 can be characterized from different perspectives: (a) as a hormone (parathyroid hormone, gastrin, prolactin, etc.) excess syndrome with excellent therapeutic options; (b) as a syndrome with sometimes lethal outcomes from malignancy of entero-pancreatic neuro-endocrine or foregut carcinoid tissues; or (c) as a disorder than can give insight about cell regulation in the endocrine, the dermal, and perhaps other tissue systems. The MEN1 gene was identified recently by positional cloning, a comprehensive strategy of narrowing the candidate interval and evaluating all or most genes in that interval. This discovery has opened new approaches to basic and clinical issues. Germline MEN1 mutations have been identified in most MEN1 families. Germline MENI mutations were generally not found in families with isolated hyperparathyroidism or with isolated pituitary tumor. Thus, studies with the MENI gene helped establish that mutation of other gene(s) is likely causative of these two MEN1 phenocopies. MEN1 proved to be the gene most frequent L4 mutated in common-variety, nonhereditary parathyroid tumor, gastrinoma, insulinoma, or bronchial carcinoid. For example, in common-variety parathyroid tumors, mutation of several other genes (such as cyclin D1 and P53) has been found, but much less frequently than MEN1 mutation. The majority of germline and somatic MEN1 mutations predicted truncation of the encoded protein (menin). Such inactivating mutations strongly supported prior predictions that MEN1 is a tumor suppressor gene insofar as stepwise mutational inactivation of both copies can release a cell from normal growth suppression. Menin is principally a nuclear protein; menin interacts with junD. Future studies, such as discovery of menin's metabolic pathway, could lead to new opportunities in cell biology and in tumor therapy.