The erythrocytes from a patient with Scott syndrome, a bleeding disorder characterized by an isolated defect in expression of platelet procoagulant activity, have been studied. When incubated with the calcium ionophore A23187, Scott syndrome red blood cells (RBCs) expressed less than 10% of the prothrombinase (enzyme complex of coagulation factors Va and Xa) activity of A23187-treated RBCs obtained from normal controls. Consistent with the results from enzyme assay, the ionophore-treated Scott syndrome erythrocytes exhibited diminished membrane vesiculation and decreased exposure of membrane binding sites for factor Va compared with identically treated controls. When examined by scanning electron microscopy, untreated Scott syndrome RBCs were indistinguishable from normal cells. After incubation with A23187, however, the morphology of Scott syndrome RBCs contrasted markedly from normal erythrocytes. Whereas the Ca2+ ionophore induced marked echinocytosis and spiculation of normal RBCs, Scott syndrome RBCs remained mostly discoid under these conditions, with only an occasional echinocyte-like cell observed. These aberrant responses to intracellular Ca2+ were also observed for resealed ghosts prepared from Scott syndrome erythrocytes, indicating that they are related to a defect in the membrane or membrane-associated cytoskeleton. The finding that the erythrocytes of this patient share many of the membrane abnormalities reported previously for Scott syndrome platelets suggests that this defect is common to both cell lines and involves a membrane component required for vesicle formation and for expression of prothrombinase sites.