Subcellular compartments in the outer retina of the larval tiger salamander were identified as likely sites of production of nitric oxide (NO), a recently recognized intercellular messenger. NADPH diaphorase histochemistry and NO synthase immunocytochemistry labeled photoreceptor ellipsoids and the distal regions of bipolar and glial cells apposing photoreceptor inner segments, suggesting a role for NO in visual processing in the outer retina. We investigated the actions of NO on several rod photoreceptor ion channels. Application of the NO-generating compound S-nitrosocysteine increased Ca2+ channel current and a voltage-independent conductance, but had no affect on voltage-gated K+ or nonspecific cation currents. Given the steep relation between voltage-dependent Ca2+ influx and photoreceptor synaptic output, these results indicate that NO could modulate transmission of the photoresponse to second order cells.