Neuronal activity regulates neurogenesis and neuronal differentiation in the mammalian brain. The commencement of neurotransmitter expression establishes the neuronal phenotype and enables the formation of functional connectivity between neurons. In addition, release of neurotransmitters from differentiating neurons may modulate the behaviour of neural precursors. Here, we show that neuronal activity regulates γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) expression in neurons generated from stem cells of the striatum and adult subventricular zone (SVZ). Differentiating neurons display spontaneous Ca2+ events, which are voltage-gated calcium channel (VGCC) dependent. Depolarization increases both the frequency of Ca2+ transients and the amount of Ca2+ influx in differentiating neurons. We show that depolarization-dependent GABA expression is regulated by the amplitude and not by the frequency of Ca2+ influx. Brief activation of VGCCs leads to Ca2+ influx that in turn promotes a rapid expression of GABA. Depolarization-dependent GABA expression does not require changes in gene expression. Instead, it involves cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) and Ca2+ and phospholipid-dependent protein kinase (PKC) signalling. Activity increases the number of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) 65-immunoreactive neurons in a PKA-dependent manner, without altering the expression of GAD 65, suggesting that depolarization promotes recruitment of GAD 65 by a post-translational mechanism. In line with this, depolarization does not permanently increase the expression of GABA in neurons derived from neural stem cells of the embryonic striatum, cortex and adult SVZ. Thus, neuronal activity does not merely accelerate neuronal differentiation but it may alter the mechanism of GABA synthesis in newly generated neurons.