Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) act through three class B G-protein coupled receptors, PAC1, VPAC1 and VPAC2, initiating multiple signaling pathways. In addition to natural peptides ligands, a number of synthetic peptides and a small molecular antagonist have been generated. Genetically modified animals have been produced for the neuropeptides and receptors. Neuroanatomical, electrophysiological, behavioral and pharmacological characterization of the mutants and transgenic mice uncovered diverse roles of PACAP-PAC1-VAPC2 signaling in peripheral tissues and in the central nervous system. Human genetic studies suggest that the PACAP-PAC1-VPAC2 signaling can be associated with psychiatric illness via mechanisms of not only loss-of-function, but also gain-of-function. For example, a duplication of chromosome 7q36.3 (encoding the VPAC2 receptor) was shown to be associated with schizophrenia, and high levels of PACAP-PAC1 signaling are associated with posttraumatic stress disorder. Whereas knockout animals are appropriate to address loss-of-function of human genetics, transgenic mice overexpressing human transgenes in native environment using artificial chromosomes are particularly valuable and essential to address the consequences of gain-of-function. This review focuses on role of PACAP and PAC1 receptor in brain development, behavior of animals and potential implication in human neurodevelopmental disorders. It also encourages keeping an open mind that alterations of VIP/PACAP signaling may associate with psychiatric illness without overt neuroanatomic changes, and that tuning of VIP/PACAP signaling may represent a novel avenue for the treatment of the psychiatric illness. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.