In order to understand the critical role that hydrogen ions play in fluid secretion in Malpighian tubules, intracellular and luminal pH and K+ measurements were performed in isolated Malpighian tubules of the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti). The intracellular pH was 7.03+/-0.05 (n=15 Malpighian tubules (MT)) and the luminal pH was 7.19+/-0.09 (n=99 MT) when bathed in saline at a pH of 7.0. The lumen potential is positive, thus net proton secretion into the lumen is active. The intracellular and the luminal K+ concentrations were 75+/- 9 mM (n=15) and 102+/-13 mM (n=9 MT) respectively. Cyclic AMP analogues accelerated fluid secretion and at the same time acidified the cell without affecting the luminal pH. Both effects were abolished by an isomer of adenosine-3',5' cyclic monophosphothioate (cAMPS), the Rp-cAMPS, known to inhibit protein kinase A. The results suggest that in the presence of cAMP the properties of the cation/H+ exchanger are affected and that this may be a result of phosphorylation of a Na+/2H+ antiporter located on the apical membrane.