We have isolated full-length cDNAs for two distinct isoforms of glutamate decarboxylase (GAD), designated OsGAD1 and OsGAD2 from a rice shoot cDNA library. Open reading frames found in OsGAD1 and OsGAD2 cDNAs encode putative proteins of 501 (56.7 kDa) and 500 amino acids (55.6 kDa), respectively. They show 69% identity to each other and 67-78% identity to dicotyledonous counterpart sequences determined so far. Comparative analysis of relevant genomic clones obtained from the rice genomic library with these cDNAs as probes demonstrated that the number and sizes of introns deduced for these two genes differ considerably. Interestingly, in the regions in the putative gene products corresponding to the C-terminal 30-amino-acid peptide known as the calmodulin-binding domain of plant GADs, OsGAD1 possesses a typical motif, while OsGAD2 contains several substitutions of amino acids that contribute strongly to the binding of calmodulin (CaM). An in vitro CaM-binding assay of these proteins over-expressed in Escherichia coli revealed that OsGAD1 can in fact bind specifically to bovine CaM but OsGAD2 cannot. RNA analysis showed that transcripts of OsGAD1 and OsGAD2 were present in all tissues examined, but their expression was differentially regulated, at least in roots and maturing seeds.