The extent to which Ca2+-induced Ca2+ release (CICR) affects transmitter release is unknown. Continuous nerve stimulation (20-50 Hz) caused slow transient increases in miniature end-plate potential (MEPP) frequency (MEPP-hump) and intracellular free Ca2+ ([Ca2+]i) in presynaptic terminals (Ca2+-hump) in frog skeletal muscles over a period of minutes in a low Ca2+, high Mg2+ solution. Mn2+ quenched Indo-1 and Fura-2 fluorescence, thus indicating that stimulation was accompanied by opening of voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels. MEPP-hump depended on extracellular Ca2+ (0.05-0.2 mM) and stimulation frequency. Both the Ca2+- and MEPP-humps were blocked by 8-(N,N-diethylamino)octyl3,4,5-trimethoxybenzoate hydrochloride (TMB-8), ryanodine, and thapsigargin, but enhanced by CN−. Thus, Ca2+-hump is generated by the activation of CICR via ryanodine receptors by Ca2+ entry, producing MEPP-hump. A short interruption of tetanus (<1 min) during MEPP-hump quickly reduced MEPP frequency to a level attained under the effect of TMB-8 or thapsigargin, while resuming tetanus swiftly raised MEPP frequency to the previous or higher level. Thus, the steady/equilibrium condition balancing CICR and Ca2+ clearance occurs in nerve terminals with slow changes toward a greater activation of CICR (priming) during the rising phase of MEPP-hump and toward a smaller activation during the decay phase. A short pause applied after the end of MEPP- or Ca2+-hump affected little MEPP frequency or [Ca2+]i, but caused a quick increase (faster than MEPP- or Ca2+-hump) after the pause, whose magnitude increased with an increase in pause duration (<1 min), suggesting that Ca2+ entry-dependent inactivation, but not depriming process, explains the decay of the humps. The depriming process was seen by giving a much longer pause (>1 min). Thus, ryanodine receptors in frog motor nerve terminals are endowed with Ca2+ entry-dependent slow priming and fast inactivation mechanisms, as well as Ca2+ entry-dependent activation, and involved in asynchronous exocytosis. Physiological significance of CICR in presynaptic terminals was discussed.