It is well established that the vacuole plays an important role in the cellular adaptation to growth in the presence of elevated extracellular Ca2+ concentrations in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The Ca2+ ATPase Pmc1p and the Ca2+/H+ exchanger Vcx1p/Hum1p have been shown to facilitate Ca2+ sequestration into the vacuole. However, the distinct physiological roles of these two vacuolar Ca2+ transporters remain uncertain. Here we show that Vcx1p can rapidly sequester a sudden pulse of cytosolic Ca2+ into the vacuole, while Pmc1p carries out this function much less efficiently. This finding is consistent with the postulated role of Vcx1p as a high capacity, low affinity Ca2+ transporter and suggests that Vcx1p may act to attenuate the propagation of Ca2+ signals in this organism. Copyright (C) 1999 Federation of European Biochemical Societies.