The complement system plays an important role in defense mechanisms by promoting the adherence of microorganisms to phagocytic cells and lysis of foreign organisms. Deficiencies of the first complement components, C1r/C1s, often cause systemic lupus erythematosus-like syndromes and severe pyogenic infections. Up to now no genetic analysis of the C1r/C1s deficiencies has been carried out. In the present work, we report the first genetic analysis of selective C1s deficiency, the patient having a normal amount of C1r. C1s RNA with a normal size was detected in patient's subcutaneous fibroblasts (YKF) by RNA blot analysis and RT-PCR. The amount of C1s RNA was approximately one-tenth of the RNA from the human chondrosarcoma cell line, HCS2/8. In contrast, the levels of C1r and beta-actin RNA of YKF were similar to that of HCS2/8. Sequence analysis of C1s cDNA revealed a deletion at nucleotides 1087-1090 (TTTG), creating a stop codon (TGA) at position 94 downstream of the mutation site. Direct sequencing of the gene between the primers designed on intron 9 and exon 10 indicated the presence of the deletion on exon 10 of the gene. Quantitative Southern blot hybridization suggested the mutation was homozygous. The 4-bp deletion on exon 10 was also found in the patient's heterozygous mother who had normal hemolytic activity.