gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the most widely distributed known inhibitory neurotransmitter in the vertebrate brain. GABA also serves regulatory and trophic roles in several other organs, including the pancreas. The brain contains two forms of the GABA synthetic enzyme glutamate decarboxylase (GAD), which differ in molecular size, amino acid sequence, antigenicity, cellular and subcellular location, and interaction with the GAD cofactor pyridoxal phosphate. These forms, GAD65 and GAD67, derive from two genes. The distinctive properties of the two GADs provide a substrate for understanding not only the multiple roles of GABA in the nervous system, but also the autoimmune response to GAD in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.