All TGF-beta family members have a prodomain that is important for secretion. Lack of secretion of a TGF-beta family member GDF5 is known to underlie some skeletal abnormalities, such as brachydactyly type C that is characterized by a huge and unexplained phenotypic variability. To search for potential phenotypic modifiers regulating secretion of GDF5, we compared cells overexpressing wild type (Wt) GDF5 and GDF5 with a novel mutation in the prodomain identified in a large Pakistani family with Brachydactyly type C and mild Grebe type chondrodyslplasia (c527T>C; p.Leu176Pro). Initial in vitro expression studies revealed that the p.Leu176Pro mutant (Mut) GDF5 was not secreted outside the cells. We subsequently showed that GDF5 was capable of forming a complex with latent transforming growth factor binding proteins, LTBP1 and LTBP2. Furthermore, secretion of LTBP1 and LTBP2 was severely impaired in cells expressing the Mut-GDF5 compared to Wt-GDF5. Finally, we demonstrated that secretion of Wt-GDF5 was inhibited by the Mut-GDF5, but only when LTBP (LTBP1 or LTBP2) was co-expressed. Based on these findings, we suggest a novel model, where the dosage of secretory co-factors or stabilizing proteins like LTBP1 and LTBP2 in the microenvironment may affect the extent of GDF5 secretion and thereby function as modifiers in phenotypes caused by GDF5 mutations.