The transthyretin (TTR) amyloid diseases are of keen interest, because there are >80 mutations that cause, and a few mutations that suppress, disease. The V122I variant is the most common amyloidogenic mutation worldwide, producing familial amyloidotic cardiomyopathy primarily in individuals of African descent. The substitution shifts the tetramer-folded monomer equilibrium toward monomer (lowers tetramer stability) and lowers the kinetic barrier associated with rate-limiting tetramer dissociation (pH 7; relative to wild-type TTR) required for amyloid fibril formation. Fibril formation is also accelerated because the folded monomer resulting from the tetramer-folded monomer equilibrium rapidly undergoes partial denaturation and self-assembles into amyloid (in vitro) when subjected to a mild denaturation stress (e.g., pH 4.8). Incorporation of the V122I mutation into a folded monomeric variant of transthyretin reveals that this mutation does not destabilize the tertiary structure or alter the rate of amyloidogenesis relative to the wild-type monomer. The increase in the velocity of rate-limiting tetramer dissociation coupled with the lowered tetramer stability (increasing the mol fraction of folded monomer present at equilibrium) may explain why V122I confers an apparent absolute anatomic risk for cardiac amyloid deposition.