This paper reports that the glutathione (GSH)-deficient mutant,cad2–1, of Arabidopsis is deficient in the first enzyme in the pathway of GSH biosynthesis, γ-glutamylcysteine synthetase (GCS). The mutant accumulates a substrate of GCS, cysteine, and is deficient in the product, γ-glutamylcysteine.In vitroenzyme assays showed that thecad2–1mutant has 40% of wild-type levels of GCS activity but is unchanged in the activity of the second enzyme in the pathway, GSH synthetase. TheCAD2locus maps to chromosome 4 and is tightly linked to a gene,GSHA, identified by a previously isolated cDNA. A genomic clone ofGSHAcomplements both the phenotypic and biochemical deficiencies of thecad2–1mutant. The nucleotide sequence of the gene has been determined and, in the mutant, this gene contains a 6 bp deletion within an exon. These data demonstrate that theCAD2gene encodes GCS. Thecad2–1mutation is close to the conserved cysteine which is believed to bind the substrate glutamate and the specific inhibitor L-buthionine-[S,R] sulfoximine (BSO). Both root growth and GCS activity of thecad2–1mutant was less sensitive than the wild-type to inhibition by BSO, indicating that the mutation may alter the affinity of the inhibitor binding site.