Studies of plasma prekallikrein in a family with prekallikrein deficiency were made. Three children had no clotting activity but approximately 35% antigen levels, and the mother and five children had twice as much prekallikrein antigen as clotting activity, suggesting the presence of a dysfunctional molecule. A nonfunctional variant form of prekallikrein was purified that contained no prekallikrein clotting activity. The variant and normal molecules were both 80,000 mol wt, immunologically indistinguishable and complexed similarly with high molecular weight kininogen. Isoelectric focusing studies suggested a difference of one charged amino acid residue. The variant was cleaved by beta-Factor XIIa 200 times slower than the normal molecule, and no amidolytic activity was detected for the cleaved variant. These data and other observations suggest that an amino acid was substituted in the variant near the NH2-terminal end of the kallikrein light chain resulting in slower cleavage by beta-Factor XIIa and the absence of enzymatic activity.