Exogenous ATP markedly reduced 1-desamino-8-D-arginine vasopressin (dDAVP)-stimulated Ca2+ transport and cAMP accumulation in primary cultures of rabbit connecting tubule and cortical collecting duct cells. Similarly, ATP inhibited the stimulatory effect of 8-bromo-cAMP. At first sight, this is in agreement with the "classic" concept that dDAVP exerts its stimulatory effect via cAMP. However, dDAVP-stimulated Ca2+ transport was markedly reduced by the protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitor chelerythrine, reported previously to inhibit the cAMP-independent pathway responsible for parathyroid hormone-, [Arg8]vasopressin-, PGE2-, and adenosine-stimulated Ca2+ transport. Chelerythrine also inhibited the increase in Ca2+ transport evoked by the cAMP-independent A1 receptor agonist N6-cyclopentyladenosine (CPA). Downregulation of phorbol ester-sensitive PKC isoforms by chronic phorbol ester treatment has been shown before to be without effect on hormone-stimulated Ca2+ transport, indicating that the chelerythrine-inhibitable pathway consists of a phorbol ester-insensitive PKC isoform. Here, this maneuver did not affect ATP inhibition of dDAVP-stimulated Ca2+ transport and cAMP formation, while abolishing ATP inhibition of CPA-stimulated Ca2+ transport. These findings show that ATP acts via 1) a phorbol ester-sensitive PKC isoform to inhibit hormonal stimulation of Ca2+ transport at the level of the chelerythrine-inhibitable pathway involving a phorbol ester-insensitive PKC isoform and 2) a phorbol ester-insensitive mechanism to inhibit V2 receptor-mediated concomitant activation of this pathway and adenylyl cyclase.