Abstract 4-Aminobutyrate (GABA) accumulates in various plant parts, including bulky fruits such as apples, in response to abiotic stress. It is generally believed that the GABA is derived from glutamate, although a contribution from polyamines is possible. Putrescine, but not spermidine and spermine, generally accumulates in response to the genetic manipulation of polyamine biosynthetic enzymes and abiotic stress. However, the GABA levels in stressed plants are influenced by processes other than putrescine availability. It is hypothesized that the catabolism of putrescine to GABA is regulated by a combination of gene-dependent and -independent processes. The expression of several putative diamine oxidase genes is weak, but highly stress-inducible in certain tissues of Arabidopsis. In contrast, candidate genes that encode 4-aminobutyraldehyde dehydrogenase are highly constitutive, but not stress inducible. Changes in O2 availability and cellular redox balance due to stress may directly influence the activities of diamine oxidase and 4-aminobutyraldehyde dehydrogenase, thereby restricting GABA formation. Apple fruit is known to accumulate GABA under controlled atmosphere storage and therefore could serve as a model system for investigating the relative contribution of putrescine and glutamate to GABA production.