Isoguvacine (1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine-4-carboxylic acid) is a GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) agonist with limited conformational flexibility. In these studies we investigated the binding, uptake, and release of (3H) isoguvacine by use of tissue preparations of rat CNS, comparing the results with similar studies of (3H)GABA. The results from these investigations indicate that isoguvacine binds to membrane preparations of rat forebrain with pharmacological characteristics similar to the post-synaptic GABA recognition site; that it is transported into synaptosomal preparations by an uptake system similar to the high-affinity GABA uptake system; and that recently accumulated isoguvacine is released in a Ca2+-dependent manner and by heteroexchange with external GABA. The ability of isoguvacine and gamma-hydroxybutyric acid to decrease the K+-stimulated Ca2+-dependent release process was also investigated. The results indicate that isoguvacine interactions have many of the biochemical features of GABA synaptic function, isoguvacine being, however, less potent than GABA.