The catecholamine secretory function of a preparation of isolated bovine adrenal chromaffin cells has been further characterized under conditions designed to elucidate the mechanism of calcium channel activation and the possible role of cytoskeletal elements in stimulus-secretion coupling. Three related sets of data were obtained: (1) Differences in kinetics, Ca dependence, strength, and additivity of the secretory response to acetylcholine (ACh) versus excess K; (2) the effects on secretion of the Ca channel-blocking agents, Ni, Mg, and verapamil; and (3) the Ca dependence of vinblastine action on ACh- and K-evoked secretion. The results suggest that a major portion of the Ca influx required for catecholamine release enters the cell via voltage-dependent Ca channels with some additional Ca influx via the ACh receptor channel. Comparison of the present secretion data with corresponding known electrophysiological properties of isolated chromaffin cells provides added evidence for a role of chromaffin cell action potentials in regulation of Ca influx and the secretory response. Elevated Ca concentrations enhanced K-evoked secretion to levels comparable to that of Ach but did not induce a vinblastine block of K-evoked release. This provides further evidence against a role of microtubules in the common exocytosis event per se. However, a role of cytoskeletal elements in directing the movement of secretory granules, or an action of vinblastine at cholinergic receptors, remain distinct possibilities.