Here we show that dendritic cells accumulate the precursor form of the leaderless secretory protein interleukin-18 (pro-interleukin-18) in the cell cytosol and in organelles co-fractionating with endolysosomes. Upon antigen specific contact with T lymphocytes, particulated pro-interleukin-18 decreases rapidly, and the cytokine appears extracellularly, suggesting that exocytosis of pro-interleukin-18-containing organelles is induced. Exocytosis of secretory lysosomes is modulated by calcium: in agreement with this, calcium influx results in secretion of pro-interleukin-18. In turn, pro-interleukin-18 secretion induced by T cells is prevented by the calcium channel blocker nifedipine. Our results demonstrate a novel, calcium-mediated mechanism of post-translational regulation of secretion for interleukin-18, that allows a fast release of the cytokine.