Ion channels are essential for the regulation of neuronal functions. The significance of plasma membrane, mitochondrial, endoplasmic reticulum and lysosomal ion channels in the regulation of Ca(2+) is well established. In contrast, surprisingly little is known about the function of ion channels on the nuclear envelope (NE). Here we demonstrate the presence of functional large-conductance, calcium-activated potassium channels (BK channels) on the NE of rodent hippocampal neurons. Functionally, blockade of nuclear BK channels (nBK channels) induces NE-derived Ca(2+) release, nucleoplasmic Ca(2+) elevation and cyclic AMP response element binding protein (CREB)-dependent transcription. More importantly, blockade of nBK channels regulates nuclear Ca(2+)-sensitive gene expression and promotes dendritic arborization in a nuclear Ca(2+)-dependent manner. These results suggest that the nBK channel functions as a molecular link between neuronal activity and nuclear Ca(2+) to convey signals from synapse to nucleus and is a new modulator, operating at the NE, of synaptic activity-dependent neuronal functions.