The effect of varying concentrations of free Ca2+ on the formation of Pi from mannose-6-P or of Pi and [U-14C]glucose from [U-14C]glucose-6-P was investigated in isolated fasted rat hepatocytes made permeable by freezing and in liver microsomes. Free Ca2+ concentration was adjusted by the use of Ca-EGTA buffers. In permeabilized cells, glucose-6-phosphatase (EC 184.108.40.206) activity was inhibited up to 50% and in intact microsomes up to 70% by increasing free Ca2+ concentrations from 0.01 to 10 microM. The inhibition was reversible and competitive with respect to glucose-6-P. Treatment of microsomes with 0.4% deoxycholate exposed 90% of latent mannose-6-phosphatase activity which was insensitive to Ca2+. The results indicate that Ca2+ affects the glucose-6-P translocase rather than the phosphohydrolase component. It is concluded that the glucose-6-phosphatase system is modulated by changes in Ca2+ concentrations in the range of those occurring in the liver cell upon hormonal stimulation.