Abstract: Glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH), an enzyme that is central to the metabolism of glutamate, is present at high levels in the mammalian brain. Studies on human leukocytes and rat brain suggested the presence of two GDH activities differing in thermal stability and allosteric regulation, but molecular biological investigations led to the cloning of two human GDH-specific genes encoding highly homologous polypeptides. The first gene, designated GLUD1, is expressed in all tissues (housekeeping GDH), whereas the second gene, designated GLUD2, is expressed specifically in neural and testicular tissues. In this study, we obtained both GDH isoenzymes in pure form by expressing a GLUD1 cDNA and a GLUD2 cDNA in Sf9 cells and studied their properties. The enzymes generated showed comparable catalytic properties when fully activated by 1 mM ADP. However, in the absence of ADP, the nerve tissue-specific GDH showed only 5% of its maximal activity, compared with ∼40% showed by the housekeeping enzyme. Low physiological levels of ADP (0.05–0.25 mM) induced a concentration-dependent enhancement of enzyme activity that was proportionally greater for the nerve tissue GDH (by 550–1,300%) than of the housekeeping enzyme (by 120–150%). Magnesium chloride (1–2 mM) inhibited the nonactivated housekeeping GDH (by 45–64%); this inhibition was reversed almost completely by ADP. In contrast, Mg2+ did not affect the nonstimulated nerve tissue-specific GDH, although the cation prevented much of the allosteric activation of the enzyme at low ADP levels (0.05–0.25 mM). Heat-inactivation experiments revealed that the half-life of the housekeeping and nerve tissue-specific GDH was 3.5 and 0.5 h, respectively. Hence, the nerve tissue-specific GDH is relatively thermolabile and has evolved into a highly regulated enzyme. These allosteric properties may be of importance for regulating brain glutamate fluxes in vivo under changing energy demands.