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Two families with hereditary renal amyloidosis were found to have a novel mutation in the fibrinogen A alpha chain gene. This form of amyloidosis is an autosomal dominant condition characterized by proteinuria, hypertension, and subsequent azotemia. DNAs of patients with amyloidosis were screened for a polymorphism in fibrinogen A alpha chain gene by single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis, and affected individuals from two kindreds were found to have a mutation. Both of these kindreds are American of Irish descent presenting with non-neuropathic, nephropathic amyloidosis in the fifth to the seventh decade of life. DNA sequencing showed a point mutation in the fibrinogen A alpha chain gene that is responsible for substitution of valine for glutamic acid at position 526. By restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis, 7 affected individuals and 14 asymptomatic individuals in these two kindreds were positive for the fibrinogen A alpha chain Val 526 gene. Fibrinogen was isolated from plasma of a heterozygous gene carrier and shown to contain approximately 50% variant fibrinogen. Discovery of this new mutation confirms the association between fibrinogen A alpha chain variant and hereditary renal amyloidosis and establishes a new biochemical subtype of amyloidosis.