Involvement of microtubules in the cellular action of vasopressin was studied by physiological and biochemical procedures. The inhibitory effect of 10(-4) M colchicine on the hydro-osmotic response of the toad bladder to 2 mM cyclic AMP was completely blocked by an increase in the concentration of calcium in the serosal bathing medium from 1 to 8 mM. Most of the colchicine-binding activity of extracts of the bladder epithelial cells was recovered by DEAE-Sephadex chromatography in a procedure similar to that used to isolate tubulin of bovine brain. Sodium dodecyl sulfate urea and urea gel electrophoresis of the DEAE-Sephadex fraction from the bladder epithelial cells yielded bands that corresponded to those of bovine brain tubulin. When 8 mM CaCl2 was present in an incubation mixture, the binding of colchicine to tubulin from the bladder epithelial cells and bovine brain was significantly inhibited. However, 1 mM CaCl2 did not affect the binding of colchicine to tubulin. Although the present study supports the concept that microtubules and calcium play an important role in the cellular action of vasopressin on the toad urinary bladder, the mechanism by which calcium blocks the inhibitory effect of colchicine on the hydro-osmotic response to cyclic AMP could not be elucidated.