In skeletal muscle, L-type Ca2+ channels act as voltage sensors to control ryanodine-sensitive Ca2+ channels in the sarcoplasmic reticulum. It has recently been demonstrated that these ryanodine receptors generate a retrograde signal that modifies L-type Ca2+ -channel activity. Here we demonstrate a tight functional coupling between ryanodine receptors and L-type Ca2+ channel in neurons. In cerebellar granule cells, activation of the type-1 metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR1) induced a large, oscillating increase of the L-type Ba2+ current. Activation occurred independently of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate and classical protein kinases, but was mimicked by caffeine and blocked by ryanodine. The kinetics of this blockade were dependent on the frequency of Ba2+ current stimulation. Both mGluR1 and caffeine-induced increase in L-type Ca2+ -channel activity persisted in inside-out membrane patches. In these excised patches, ryanodine suppressed both the mGluR1- and caffeine-activated L-type Ca2+ channels. These results demonstrate a novel mechanism for Ca2+ -channel modulation in neurons.