Renal proximal tubule cells express in their apical brush border membrane (BBM) a Na/P(i) cotransporter type IIa that is rapidly downregulated in response to parathyroid hormone (PTH). We used the rat renal Na/P(i) cotransporter type IIa (NaPi-2) as an in vivo model to assess early cellular events in the rapid downregulation of this transporter. When rats were treated with PTH for 15 minutes, NaPi-2 abundance in the BBM was decreased. In parallel, transporter accumulated in intracellular vesicles. Concomitantly, microtubules (MTs) were found to form dense bundles of apical-to-basal orientation. After 60 minutes of PTH action, the cells were vastly depleted of NaPi-2, whereas their microtubular cytoskeleton had returned to its normal appearance. Prevention of MT rearrangement by taxol resulted in accumulation of NaPi-2 in the subapical cell portion after 15 minutes and a strong delay in depletion of intracellular transporter after 60 minutes of PTH action. Furthermore, the subapical accumulation of NaPi-2 was associated with the expansion of dense apical tubules of the subapical endocytic apparatus (SEA). Depolymerization of MTs by colchicine likewise caused a retardation of intracellular NaPi-2 depletion. These results suggest that NaPi-2 is downregulated in response to PTH through a rapid endocytic process in 2 separate steps: (a) internalization of the transporter into the SEA, and (b) its delivery to degradative organelles by a trafficking mechanism whose efficiency depends on a taxol-sensitive rearrangement of MTs.