In the rodent cerebellum, pharmacological activation of mGluR4 acutely depresses excitatory synaptic transmission at parallel fibre–Purkinje cell synapses. This depression involves the inhibition of presynaptic calcium (Ca2+) influx that ultimately controls glutamate release. In this study, we investigate the molecular basis of mGluR4-mediated inhibition of presynaptic Ca2+ transients. Our results demonstrate that the mGluR4 effect does not depend on selective inhibition of a specific type of presynaptic voltage-gated Ca2+ channel, but rather involves modulation of all classes of Ca2+ channels present in the presynaptic terminals. In addition, this inhibitory effect does not involve the activation of G protein-activated inwardly rectifying potassium channels, TEA-sensitive potassium channels or two-pore-domain potassium channels. Furthermore, this inhibition does not require pertussis toxin-sensitive G proteins, and is independent of any effect on adenylyl cyclases, protein kinase A, mitogen-activated protein kinases or phosphoinositol-3 kinase activity. Interestingly we found that mGluR4 inhibition of presynaptic Ca2+ influx employs a newly defined signalling pathway, notably that involving the activation of phospholipase C and ultimately protein kinase C.