Metabotropic excitatory amino acid (EAA) receptors are coupled to effector systems through G proteins. Because various G protein-coupled receptors stimulate the hydrolysis of phosphatidylcholine by phospholipase D (PLD), we examined the possibility that metabotropic EAA receptors exist that are coupled to the activation of PLD. We found that the selective metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) agonists 1S,3R-amino-1,3-cyclopentanedicarboxylic acid (ACPD) and 1S,3S-ACPD, but not the inactive isomer, 1R,3S-ACPD, induce a concentration-dependent increase in PLD activity in hippocampal slices. Selective ionotropic glutamate receptor (iGluR) antagonists did not block 1S,3R-ACPD-induced PLD stimulation. Furthermore, although selective iGluR agonists did not activate this response, the nonselective mGluR-iGluR agonists, ibotenate and quisqualate, caused significant increases in PLD activity (all in the presence of iGluR antagonists). L-2-Amino-3-phosphonopropionic acid, which blocks the mGluR that is coupled to phosphoinositide hydrolysis in various brain regions, activates PLD to the same extent as the active isomers of ACPD. These data suggest that metabotropic EAA receptors exist in hippocampus that are coupled to PLD activation and are pharmacologically distinct from phosphoinositide hydrolysis-coupled mGluRs.