CD36 deficiency is divided into two subgroups: neither platelets nor monocytes express CD36 (type I deficiency), and monocytes express CD36 in spite of the lack of platelet CD36 (type II deficiency). We have already demonstrated that a 478C-->T substitution (proline90-->serine) in platelet CD36 cDNA predominates in type II deficiency (Kashiwagi, H., S. Honda, Y. Tomiyama, H. Mizutani, H. Take, Y. Honda, S. Kosugi, Y. Kanayama, Y. Kurata, and Y. Matsuzawa. 1993. Thromb. Haemostasis. 69:481-484). In this study, we revealed that monocyte CD36 cDNA from two type II deficient subjects was heterozygous for C478 and T478 form, while platelet CD36 cDNA of these subjects consisted of only T478 form. In a type I deficient subject, both platelet and monocyte CD36 cDNA showed only T478 form. Expression assay using C478 or T478 form of CD36 cDNA transfected cells revealed that there was an 81-kD precursor form of CD36, and that the maturation of the 81-kD precursor form to the 88-kD mature form of CD36 was markedly impaired by the substitution. The mutated precursor form of CD36 was subsequently degraded in the cytoplasm. These results indicate that the 478C-->T substitution directly leads to CD36 deficiency via defects in posttranslational modification, and that this substitution is the major defects underlying CD36 deficiency.