The amyloid protein in familial amyloidosis, Finnish type, is a 71 amino acid long fragment of the inner region of mutant Asp187----Asn gelsolin. The mechanism of gelsolin amyloid formation was tested with synthetic 11 and 30 residue peptides corresponding to the normal and mutant sequence of gelsolin. Fibrils meeting the morphologic criteria of amyloid were formed from the mutant Asn187 peptides. Substitution of the normal Asp187 residue with the mutant Asn residue resulted in a 9-fold increase in fibrillogenicity as determined by quantitative fluorometry. The present study demonstrates the first successful in vitro creation of amyloid-like fibrils from Asn187 gelsolin peptides and provides evidence that amyloid formation in Finnish amyloidosis is a direct consequence of the Asp187----Asn substitution in gelsolin.