A pyridoxal-phosphate protein that catalyzes the alpha-decarboxylation of L-glutamic acid to form gamma-aminobutyric acid and carbon dioxide. The enzyme is found in bacteria and in invertebrate and vertebrate nervous systems. It is the rate-limiting enzyme in determining GAMMA-AMINOBUTYRIC ACID levels in normal nervous tissues. The brain enzyme also acts on L-cysteate, L-cysteine sulfinate, and L-aspartate. EC