gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) and its synthetic enzyme, glutamate decarboxylase (GAD), are not limited to the nervous system but are also found in nonneural tissues. The mammalian brain contains at least two forms of GAD (GAD67 and GAD65), which differ from each other in size, sequence, immunoreactivity, and their interaction with the cofactor pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP). We used cDNAs and antibodies specific to GAD65 and GAD67 to study the molecular identity of GADs in peripheral tissues. We detected GAD and GAD mRNAs in rat oviduct and testis. In oviduct, the size of GAD, its response to PLP, its immunoreactivity, and its hybridization to specific RNA and DNA probes all indicate the specific expression of the GAD65 gene. In contrast, rat testis expresses the GAD67 gene. The GAD in these two reproductive tissues is not in neurons but in nonneural cells. The localization of brain GAD and GAD mRNAs in the mucosal epithelial cells of the oviduct and in spermatocytes and spermatids of the testis shows that GAD is not limited to neurons and that GABA may have functions other than neurotransmission.