Treatment of rat liver microsomes with 2,5-di(tert-butyl)-1,4-benzohydroquinone caused a dose-related inhibition (Ki congruent to 1 microM) of ATP-dependent Ca2+ sequestration. This was paralleled by a similar impairment of the microsomal Ca2+-stimulated ATPase activity. In contrast, the hydroquinose failed to induce Ca2+ release from Ca2+-loaded liver mitochondria (supplied with ATP), and inhibited neither the mitochondrial F1F0-ATPase nor the Ca2+-stimulated ATPase activity of the hepatic plasma membrane fraction. The inhibition of microsomal Ca2+ sequestration was not associated with any apparent alteration of membrane permeability or loss of other microsomal enzyme activities or modification of microsomal protein thiols. These findings suggest that 2,5-di(tert-butyl)-1,4-benzohydroquinone is a potent and selective inhibitor of liver microsomal Ca2+ sequestration which may be a useful tool in studies of Ca2+ fluxes in intact cells and tissues.