In nerve terminals, residual Ca(2+) remaining from previous activity can cause facilitation of transmitter release by a mechanism that is still under debate. Here we show that the intracellular Ca(2+) sensitivity of transmitter release at the calyx of Held is largely unchanged during facilitation, which leaves an increased microdomain Ca(2+) signal as a possible mechanism for facilitation. We measured the Ca(2+) dependencies of facilitation, as well as of transmitter release, to estimate the required increment in microdomain Ca(2+). These measurements show that linear summation of residual and microdomain Ca(2+) accounts for only 30% of the observed facilitation. However, a small degree of supralinearity in the summation of intracellular Ca(2+) signals, which might be caused by saturation of cytosolic Ca(2+) buffer(s), is sufficient to explain facilitation at this CNS synapse.