An inherited fibrinogen variant, fibrinogen Bern I, was isolated from plasma of an asymptomatic woman. Routine coagulation studies showed prolonged thrombin and reptilase clotting times. Fibrinogen concentration was diminished when determined by a functional assay, but was normal by the heat precipitation method. The release of fibrinopeptides A and B was not delayed. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis of mercaptolyzed fragments D of fibrinogen, obtained by digestion with plasmin, showed an abnormal electrophoretic mobility in the gamma-chain remnants of fragments D1 and D2 from fibrinogen Bern I, whereas conversion of D2 to D3 by plasmin resulted in the loss of the abnormal charge, suggesting that the structural abnormality in this variant is located in the region gamma 303 through 356. The molecular defect in fibrinogen Bern I was identified by sequence analysis of genomic DNA amplified by polymerase chain reaction and cloned in M13mp19. The triplet AAC coding for asparagine at position gamma 337 was found to be substituted by AAA coding for lysine. We conclude that the substitution gamma 337 Asn-->Lys in fibrinogen Bern I is responsible for defective polymerization of fibrin monomers and for impaired protection by calcium against plasmic degradation.

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