Activation of sphingosine kinase (SPHK), thereby increasing cellular levels of sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P), may be involved in a variety of intracellular responses including Ca(2+) signaling. This study uses mammalian SPHK1a, tagged with enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP), to examine whether translocation of this enzyme is linked with Ca(2+)-mobilizing responses. Real-time confocal imaging of SPHK1a-eGFP in human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells visualized a relocation of the enzyme from the cytosol to the plasma membrane in response to Ca(2+)-mobilizing stimuli (muscarinic M(3)- or lysophosphatidic acid receptor activation, and thapsigargin-mediated store release). This redistribution was preceded by a transient increase in cytosolic SPHK1a-eGFP levels due to liberation of SPHK from localized higher intensity regions. Translocation was dependent on Ca(2+) mobilization from intracellular stores, and was prevented by pretreatment with the Ca(2+)/calmodulin inhibitor W-7, but not W-5 or KN-62. In functional studies, pretreatment with W-7 lowered basal and M(3)-receptor-mediated cellular S1P production. However, this pretreatment did not alter agonist-mediated Ca(2+) responses, and SPHK1a-eGFP activity itself appeared insensitive to Ca(2+)/calmodulin and W-7. These data suggest a role for Ca(2+)/calmodulin in controlling the subcellular distribution but not the activity of SPHK1a.