This gene encodes a member of the ligand-gated ionic channel family. The encoded protein is one the subunits of a multi-subunit chloride channel that serves as the receptor for gamma-aminobutyric acid, a major inhibitory neurotransmitter of the mammalian nervous system. This gene is located on the long arm of chromosome 15 in a cluster with two other genes encoding related subunits of the family. This gene may be associated with the pathogenesis of several disorders including Angelman syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, nonsyndromic orofacial clefts, epilepsy and autism. Alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding distinct isoforms have been described.