l[3H]glutamate binding was investigated in membrane preparations derived from rat cerebellum, an area of the brain where it is likely that a high density of postsynaptic glutamate receptors occurs. Glutamate was hound specifically and, in freshly prepared membranes, was optimal under physiological conditions of pH and temperature and was associated with the synaptic membrane fraction of the cell. Specific binding occurred through a single, high-affinity process with a KD, of 744 nM and a capacity of 73 pmol/mg protein. Unlike the findings reported for GABA, the specific binding of glutamate to fresh membranes did not involve an uptake site. Comparison of the potencies of a wide range of compounds with known pharmacological activities, demonstrated that their ability to displace specific glutamate binding was consistent with specific interactions with glutamate receptors.