Activation of protein kinase C (PKC) in Aplysia bag cell neurons causes the recruitment of voltage-dependent calcium channels. Using imaging techniques on isolated cells, we have now found that an activator of PKC, 12-O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate (TPA), promotes the rapid appearance of new sites of calcium influx associated with a change in the morphology of neurite endings. In untreated cells, calcium influx triggered by action potentials occurs along neurites and in the central region of growth cones, but does not usually occur at the leading edge of lamellipodia. TPA produces extension of the lamellipodium, and action potentials now trigger calcium influx at the distal edge of the newly extended endings. Cotreatment with TPA and a cyclic AMP analog promotes movement of secretory organelles toward the new sites of calcium influx. Our results suggest that these second messenger systems promote the rapid formation of morphological structures that contribute to the potentiation of peptide release.