Three isoforms of the sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase (SERCA) are known to exist in mammalian cells. This study investigated the effects of thapsigargin and a variety of commonly used hydrophobic inhibitors on these SERCA isoforms (i.e. SERCA1b, SERCA2b, and SERCA3a), which were transiently expressed in COS-7 cells. In addition, the study assessed whether the introduction of the phenylalanine to valine mutation at position 256 (F256V), known to reduce the potency of thapsigargin inhibition in avian SERCA1, affects the other SERCA isoforms in a similar manner and whether this mutation also affects the inhibition by other inhibitors. This study has shown that the sensitivity to thapsigargin is different for the SERCA isoforms ( apparent K-i values being 0.21, 1.3, and 12 nM for SERCA1b, SERCA2b, and SERCA3a, respectively). The reduction in thapsigargin sensitivity caused by the F256V mutation was also different for the three isoforms, with SERCA2b only being modestly affected by this mutation. Although some of the other inhibitors investigated (i.e. cyclopiazonic acid and curcumin) showed some differences in their sensitivity toward the SERCA isoforms, most were little affected by the F256V mutation, indicating that they inhibit the Ca2+-ATPase by binding to sites on SERCA distinct from that of thapsigargin.