Severe factor V (FV) deficiency is a rare bleeding disorder, whose genetic bases have been characterized only in a limited number of cases. We investigated 6 unrelated patients with extremely reduced plasma FV levels, associated with a bleeding tendency ranging from moderately severe to severe. Clinical manifestations were substantially concordant with the previously established spectrum of hemorrhagic symptoms of the disease. Molecular analysis of FV gene identified 9 different mutations, 7 hitherto unknown, and 2 previously reported (Arg712ter and Tyr1702Cys). Four of 6 analyzed patients were compound heterozygotes, indicating the high allelic heterogeneity of this disease. Among novel mutations, 5 led to premature termination codons, because of nonsense (Arg1002ter, Arg1606ter, and Trp1854ter), or frameshift mutations (5127-5128insA and 6122-6123insAACAG). The remaining 2 were missense mutations (Cys472Gly and Val1813Met), located in FV A2 and A3 domains. Their effect on FV expression was studied by transient transfection experiments, demonstrating that the presence of each mutation impaired FV secretion. These data increase the number of severe FV deficiency-causing mutations by about 50%. The high number of "private" mutations identified in FV-deficient families indicates that full mutational screening of FV gene is still required for molecular diagnosis.