The proposita suffered from liver cirrhosis and biopsy showed type 1 membrane-bound fiberglass inclusions. The hepatic inclusion bodies were weakly periodic acid-Schiff diastase-positive, and on immunoperoxidase staining reacted specifically with anti-fibrinogen antisera. Coagulation investigations revealed low functional and antigenic fibrinogen together with a prolonged thrombin time of 37 seconds (normal, 17 to 22 seconds) suggestive of a hypodysfibrinogenemia. DNA sequencing of all three fibrinogen genes showed a single heterozygous mutation of GGG (Gly)-->CGG (Arg) at codon 284 of the gamma-chain gene. However, examination of purified fibrinogen chains by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography, ion-exchange high-performance liquid chromatography, and isoelectric focusing, failed to show any evidence of the mutant gamma(Br) chain in plasma fibrinogen. This finding was substantiated by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry, which showed only a normal gamma (and Bbeta) chain mass, but a large increase in the portion of their disialo isoforms. We speculate that misfolding of the variant protein causes hepatic retention and the subsequent hypofibrinogenemia, and that the functional defect (dysfibrinogenemia) results from hypersialylation of otherwise normal Bbeta and gamma chains consequent to the liver cirrhosis. These conclusions were supported by studies on six other family members with hypofibrinogenemia, and essentially normal clotting times, who were heterozygous for the gamma284 Gly-->Arg mutation.