A platelet membrane preparation, enriched in plasma membrane markers, took up 45Ca2+ in exchange for intravesicular Na+ and released it after the addition of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3). The possibility that contaminating dense tubular membrane (DTS) vesicles contributed the Ca2+ released by IP3 was eliminated by the addition of vanadate to inhibit Ca+-ATPase-mediated DTS Ca2+ sequestration and by the finding that only plasma membrane vesicles exhibit Na+-dependent Ca2+ uptake. Ca2+ released by IP3 was dependent on low extravesicular Ca2+ concentrations. IP3-induced Ca2+ release was additive to that released by Na+ addition while GTP or polyethylene glycol (PEG) had no effect. These results strongly suggest that IP3 facilitates extracellular Ca2+ influx in addition to release from DTS membranes.