The present study evaluated the effects of intraventricular or intracerebral administration of pertussis toxin on fear-potentiated startle (a measure of conditioned fear) and shock sensitization (a measure of unconditioned fear). In Experiment 1 all animals were unilaterally implanted with cannulae into the lateral ventricle 1 week prior to 2 days of fear conditioning (ten light-shock pairings on each of 2 days). Five days later, animals were infused with either 1 microgram pertussis toxin or saline and tested for fear-potentiated startle 24 h after infusion and tested for shock sensitization 26 or 50 h after infusion. Pertussis toxin blocked the ability of a light conditioned stimulus to facilitate startle but did not alter the ability of acute footshock to increase startle amplitude in the same animals. In Experiment 2 bilateral infusion of 1 microgram pertussis toxin into the basolateral nuclei of the amygdala, but not the interpositus nuclei of the cerebellum, also blocked fear-potentiated startle when animals were tested 6 h after infusion. These findings suggest a role for pertussis toxin sensitive G-proteins, perhaps within the amygdala, in the expression of conditioned but not unconditioned fear.