Plant cells are continuously exposed to environmental stresses such as hyper-osmolarity, and have to respond in order to survive. When 32P-labelled Chlamydomonas moewusii cells were challenged with NaCl, the formation of a new radiolabelled phospholipid was stimulated, which was barely detectable before stimulation. The phospholipid was identified as lyso-phosphatidic acid (LPA), and was the only lyso-phospholipid to be accumulated. The increase in LPA was dose- and time-dependent. When other osmotically active compounds were used, the formation of LPA was also induced with similar kinetics, although salts were better inducers than non-salts. At least part of the LPA was generated by phospholipase A2 (PLA2) hydrolysing phosphatidic acid (PA). This claim is based on PA formation preceding LPA production, and PLA2 inhibitors decreasing the accumulation of LPA and promoting the conversion of PA to diacylglycerol pyrophosphate. The latter is another metabolic derivative of PA that is implicated in cell signalling. The involvement of multiple lipid-signalling pathways in hyperosmotic stress responses is discussed.