The gray platelet syndrome is a rare inherited platelet disorder characterized by the absence of alp ha-granules as observed by electron microscopy. Analysis of the glycoprotein composition of the platelets of 2 such patients by SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) revealed decreased or absent staining for carbohydrate of several high molecular weight glycoproteins. The major periodic acid Schiff (PAS) staining membrane glycoproteins were normally detected and were normally labeled with 125I during lactoperoxidase-catalyzed iodination. Analysis of the protein composition of gray platelets by single or two- dimensional SDS-PAGE followed by Coomassie blue staining revealed an apparent absence of GP Ig (thrombospondin), markedly reduced platelet fibrinogen and albumin concentrations, and severely reduced levels of 2 low molecular weight polypeptides exhibiting identical rates of migration on SDS-PAGE as platelet factor 4 and beta-thromboglobulin. SDS-PAGE profiles similar to those of the gray platelets were observed with normal human platelets that had undergone the release reaction induced by thrombin. Analysis of gray platelet proteins by crossed immunoelectrophoresis using a rabbit anti-human platelet antibody preparation and rocket immunoelectrophoresis using monospecific antisera confirmed the above findings and showed additional severe deficiencies of factor VIIIR:Ag and cold-insoluble globulin. In contrast, factor XIII (subunit A), a cytoplasmic protein, was normally detected. Our studies provide further evidence that circulating gray platelets specifically lack, or have markedly decreased concentrations of, the alpha-granule proteins.