In a previous study we showed that activation of a presynaptically located metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) with pharmacological properties of mGluR4a causes a facilitation of glutamate release in layer V of the rat entorhinal cortex (EC) in vitro. In the present study we have begun to investigate the intracellular coupling linking the receptor to transmitter release. We recorded spontaneous α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptor-mediated excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) in the whole cell configuration of the patch-clamp technique, from visually identified neurons in layer V. Bath application of the protein kinase A (PKA) activator, forskolin, resulted in a marked facilitation of EPSC frequency, similar to that seen with the mGluR4a specific agonist, ACPT-1. Preincubation of slices with the PKA inhibitor H-89 abolished the effect of ACPT-1, as did preincubation with the adenylate cyclase inhibitor, SQ22536. Activation of protein kinase C (PKC) using phorbol 12 myristate 13-acetate (PMA) did not affect sEPSC frequency; however, it did abolish the facilitatory effect of ACPT-1 on glutamate release. A robust enhancement of EPSC frequency was seen in response to bath application of the specific PKC inhibitor, GF 109203X. Both H-89 and the group III mGluR antagonist (RS)-α-cyclopropyl-4-phosphonophenylglycine (CPPG) abolished the effects of GF 109203X. These data suggest that in layer V of the EC, presynaptic group III mGluRs facilitate release via a positive coupling to adenylate cyclase and subsequent activation of PKA. We have also demonstrated that the PKC system tonically depresses transmitter release onto layer V cells of the EC and that an interaction between mGluR4a, PKA, and PKC may exist at these synapses.