Red blood cell (RBC) protein 4.2 deficiency is often associated with a moderate nonimmune hemolytic anemia, splenomegaly, and osmotically fragile RBCs resembling, but not identical to, hereditary spherocytosis (HS). In the Japanese type of protein 4.2 deficiency (protein 4.2Nippon), the anemia is associated with a point mutation in the protein 4.2 cDNA. In this report, we describe a patient with moderate and apparently episodic nonimmune hemolytic anemia with splenomegaly, spherocytosis, osmotically fragile RBCs, reduced whole cell deformability, and abnormally dense cells. Sodium dodecyl sulfate- polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analysis of the proposita's RBC membrane proteins showed an 88% deficiency of protein 4.2 and a 30% deficiency of glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (band 6). Structural and molecular analyses of the proposita's protein 4.2 were normal. In contrast, limited tryptic digestion of the proposita's band 3 showed a homozygous abnormality in the cytoplasmic domain. Analysis of the pedigree disclosed six members who were heterozygotes for the band 3 structural abnormality and one member who was a normal homozygote. Direct sequence analysis of the abnormal band 3 tryptic peptide suggested that the structural abnormality resided at or near residue 40. Sequence analysis of the proposita's band 3 cDNA showed a 232G-->A mutation resulting in a 40glutamic acid-->lysine substitution (band 3Montefiore). Allele-specific oligonucleotide hybridization was used to probe for the mutation in the pedigree, showing that the proposita was homozygous, and the pedigree members who were heterozygous for the band 3 structural abnormality were also heterozygous for the band 3Montefiore mutation. The band 3Montefiore mutation was absent in 26 chromosomes from race-matched controls and in one pedigree member who did not express the band 3 structural abnormality. In coincidence with splenectomy, the proposita's anemia was largely corrected along with the disappearance of most spherocytes and considerable improvements of RBC osmotic fragility, whole cell deformability, and cell density. We conclude that this hereditary hemolytic anemia is associated with the homozygous state for band 3Montefiore (40glutamic acid-->lysine) and a decreased RBC membrane content of protein 4.2. We speculate that band 3 structural abnormalities can result in defective interactions with protein 4.2 and band 6, and in particular, that the region of band 3 containing 40glutamic acid is involved directly or indirectly in interactions with these proteins.