Two distinct cDNA clones encoding NAD(H)-dependent glutamate dehydrogenase (NAD[H]-GDH) in Arabidopsis thaliana were identified and sequenced. The genes corresponding to these cDNA clones were designated GDH1 and GDH2. Analysis of the deduced amino acid sequences suggest that both gene products contain putative mitochondrial transit polypeptides and NAD(H)- and alpha-ketoglutarate-binding domains. Subcellular fractionation confirmed the mitochondrial location of the NAD(H)-GDH isoenzymes. In addition, a putative EF-hand loop, shown to be associated with Ca2+ binding, was identified in the GDH2 gene product but not in the GDH1 gene product. GDH1 encodes a 43.0-kD polypeptide, designated alpha, and GDH2 encodes a 42.5-kD polypeptide, designated beta. The two subunits combine in different ratios to form seven NAD(H)-GDH isoenzymes. The slowest-migrating isoenzyme in a native gel, GDH1, is a homohexamer composed of alpha subunits, and the fastest-migrating isoenzyme, GDH7, is a homohexamer composed of beta subunits. GDH isoenzymes 2 through 6 are heterohexamers composed of different ratios of alpha and beta subunits. NAD(H)-GDH isoenzyme patterns varied among different plant organs and in leaves of plants irrigated with different nitrogen sources or subjected to darkness for 4 d. Conversely, there were little or no measurable changes in isoenzyme patterns in roots of plants treated with different nitrogen sources. In most instances, changes in isoenzyme patterns were correlated with relative differences in the level of alpha and beta subunits. Likewise, the relative difference in the level of alpha or beta subunits was correlated with changes in the level of GDH1 or GDH2 transcript detected in each sample, suggesting that NAD(H)-GDH activity is controlled at least in part at the transcriptional level.