The conformationally constrained cyclobutane analogues of quisqualic acid (Z)- and (E)-1-amino-3-[2'-(3',5'-dioxo-1',2',4'- oxadiazolidinyl)]cyclobutane-1-carboxylic acid, compounds 2 and 3, respectively, were synthesized. Both 2 and 3 stimulated phosphoinositide (PI) hydrolysis in the hippocampus with EC50 values of 18 ± 6 and 53 ± 19 μM, respectively. Neither analogue stimulated PI hydrolysis in the cerebellum. The effects of 2 and 3 were also examined in BHK cells which expressed either mGluR1a or mGluR5a receptors. Compounds 2 and 3 stimulated PI hydrolysis in cells expressing mGluR5a but not in those cells expressing mGluR1a. The EC50 value for 2 was 11 ± 4 μM, while that for 3 was 49 ± 25 μM. Both 2 and 3 did not show any significant effect on cells expressing the mGluR2 and mGluR4a receptors. In addition, neither compound blocked [3H]glutamic acid uptake into synaptosomal membranes, and neither compound was able to produce the QUIS effect as does quisqualic acid. This pharmacological profile indicates that 2 and 3 are selective ligands for the mGluR5a metabotropic glutamic acid receptor.