Plasma lipoprotein (a) [Lp(a)] levels are largely determined by variation in the LPA gene, which codes for apo(a). Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have identified nonsynonymous variants in LPA that associate with low Lp(a) levels, although their effect on apo(a) function is unknown. We investigated two such variants, R990Q and R1771C, which were present in four null Lp(a) individuals, for structural and functional effects. Sequence alignments showed the R990 and R1771 residues to be highly conserved and homologous to each other and to residues associated with plasminogen deficiency. Structural modeling showed both residues to make several polar contacts with neighboring residues that would be ablated on substitution. Recombinant expression of the WT and R1771C apo(a) in liver and kidney cells showed an abundance of an immature form for both apo(a) proteins. A mature form of apo(a) was only seen with the WT protein. Imaging of the recombinant apo(a) proteins in conjunction with markers of the secretory pathway indicated a poor transit of R1771C into the Golgi. Furthermore, the R1771C mutant displayed a glycosylation pattern consistent with ER, but not Golgi, glycosylation. We conclude that R1771 and the equivalent R990 residue facilitate correct folding of the apo(a) kringle structure and mutations at these positions prevent the proper folding required for full maturation and secretion. To our knowledge, this is the first example of nonsynonymous variants in LPA being causative of a null Lp(a) phenotype.