Treatment of a lysosome-rich fraction from liver with 2-chloroethylethyl sulfide resulted in a dose-dependent release of arylsulfatase. The inclusion of Ca2+ enhanced the enzyme release by approximately 2.3-fold. The enhancing effect of Ca2+, showing an EC50 value of 30 mM, was mimicked by neither Mg2+ nor Mn2+. Studies on a structural requirement and a time-dependent release suggest that the Ca(2+)-dependent release proceeds via a specific process involving the alkylation of lysosomal membranes by 2-chloroethylethyl sulfide. Furthermore, the Ca(2+)-dependent process was prevented partially by either leupeptin or gentamycin, but neither pepstatin nor PMSF, implying that the enzyme release may be partially mediated by lysosomal cysteine-protease or phospholipase. Meanwhile, the Ca(2+)-independent release seems to be expressed non-specifically by various compounds.