Mucolipidosis (ML) II and MLIII alpha/beta are two pediatric lysosomal storage disorders caused by mutations in the GNPTAB gene, which encodes an α/β-subunit precursor protein of GlcNAc-1-phosphotransferase. Considerable variations in the onset and severity of the clinical phenotype in these diseases are observed. We report here on expression studies of two missense mutations c.242G>T (p.Trp81Leu) and c.2956C>T (p.Arg986Cys) and two frameshift mutations c.3503_3504delTC (p.Leu1168GlnfsX5) and c.3145insC (p.Gly1049ArgfsX16) present in severely affected MLII patients, as well as two missense mutations c.1196C>T (p.Ser399Phe) and c.3707A>T (p.Lys1236Met) reported in more mild affected individuals. We generated a novel α-subunit-specific monoclonal antibody, allowing the analysis of the expression, subcellular localization, and proteolytic activation of wild-type and mutant α/β-subunit precursor proteins by Western blotting and immunofluorescence microscopy. In general, we found that both missense and frameshift mutations that are associated with a severe clinical phenotype cause retention of the encoded protein in the endoplasmic reticulum and failure to cleave the α/β-subunit precursor protein are associated with a severe clinical phenotype with the exception of p.Ser399Phe found in MLIII alpha/beta. Our data provide new insights into structural requirements for localization and activity of GlcNAc-1-phosphotransferase that may help to explain the clinical phenotype of MLII patients.