Hydrolysis of the membrane phospholipid phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate (PtdIns(4,5)P2) produces two prospective intracellular messengers: inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (InsP3), which releases Ca2+ from intracellular stores; and diacylglycerol (DG), which activates protein kinase C. Here we show how the formation of these two substances triggered by one external messenger, bradykinin, leads to the appearance of two different sequential membrane conductance changes in the neurone-like NG108-15 neuroblastoma-glioma hybrid cell line. In these cells bradykinin rapidly hydrolyses PtdIns(4,5)P2 to InsP3 and DG, raises intracellular Ca2+ and hyperpolarizes then depolarizes the cell membrane. By voltage-clamp recording we show that the hyperpolarization results from the activation pharmacologically-identifiable species of Ca2+-dependent K+ current. This is also activated by intracellular injections of Ca2+ or InsP3 so may be attributed to the formation and action of InsP3. The subsequent depolarization results primarily from the inhibition of a different, voltage-dependent K+ current, the M-current that is also inhibited by DG activators. Hence we describe for the first time a dual, time-dependent role for these two intracellular messengers in the control of neuronal signalling by a peptide.