The inhibitory glycine receptor (GlyR) mediates postsynaptic inhibition in spinal cord, brain stem and other regions of the vertebrate central nervous system. Biochemical and molecular approaches have identified different developmentally and regionally regulated GlyR isoforms that result from the differential expression of at least four genes coding for different variants of the ligand-binding alpha subunit. Molecular studies have allowed identification of GlyR subunit domains implicated in ligand binding, channel formation and receptor assembly. At the postsynaptic membrane, the GlyR colocalizes with a 93-kDa tubulin-binding peripheral membrane protein, gephyrin. Antisense inhibition of gephyrin expression prevents GlyR accumulation at postsynaptic membrane specialization. Thus, gephyrin is essential for postsynaptic receptor topology.