The gamma chain of human plasma fibrinogen is heterogeneous with three forms differing in length at the C-terminus. Alternative RNA splicing produces two gamma chain mRNAs encoding gamma 50 and gamma 57.5 polypeptides, while fibrinogen gamma 55 is produced by post- translational modification of the gamma 57.5 chain. The composition of purified variant gamma chain fibrinogens, which comprise 10% to 13% total plasma fibrinogen, is predominantly heterodimeric (A alpha, B beta, gamma 50/gamma 55 or A alpha, B beta, gamma 50/gamma 57.5), whereas the composition of purified fibrinogen with the major form of the gamma chain is homodimeric (A alpha, B beta, gamma 50/gamma 50). These gamma chain variations interrupt sequences that mediate platelet- fibrinogen interactions. Therefore, the structure and function of gamma 57.5 C-terminal sequences were investigated using synthetic peptides and a specific monoclonal antibody (MoAb), L2B. The L2B epitope was localized and included gamma 57.5 chain residues 409–412 (Arg-Pro-Glu- His), as determined by differential enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) reactivity with a His-412 deleted synthetic peptide and by Western blot analysis of plasmin cleaved fibrinogen gamma 57.5. L2B had no effect on adenosine diphosphate (ADP)-induced platelet aggregation supported by either fibrinogen gamma 50 or gamma 57.5. High concentrations (0.5 to 1 mmol/L) of synthetic peptide gamma 57.5 405– 416 only weakly inhibited ADP-induced platelet aggregation supported by either fibrinogen gamma 50 or gamma 57.5. Binding of fibrinogen gamma 50 (IC50 = 780 mumol/L) or gamma 57.5 (IC50 = 650 mumol/L) to ADP- stimulated platelets was weakly inhibited, and MoAb L2B failed to inhibit fibrinogen gamma 57.5 binding. Peptide gamma 57.5 408–416 failed to dissociate platelet-bound fibrinogens. These data indicate that the gamma 408–416 sequence of fibrinogen gamma 55 or gamma 57.5 alone is unlikely to bind to the platelet fibrinogen receptor, glycoprotein llb-llla (GPllb-llla), in support of platelet aggregation under physiologic conditions. The sequence recognized by L2B does not resemble known GPllb-llla binding site peptide sequences [Arg-Gly-Asp- Ser (RGDS) or gamma 50 400–411] as determined by competitive inhibition ELISA comparing these binding site synthetic peptides with gamma 57.5 408–416. This epitope is available for binding MoAb L2B in gamma 55 or gamma 57.5 chain dimers and binds to all gamma 57.5 408–416 epitopes equally in non-crosslinked and factor Xllla crosslinked fibrin clots.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).