1α,25-dihydroxyitamin D3 (1,25D3) deficiency leads to impaired bone mineralization. We used the human pre-osteoblastic cell line SV-HFO, which forms within 19 days of culture an extracellular matrix that starts to mineralize around day 12, to examine the mechanism by which 1,25D3 regulates osteoblasts and directly stimulates mineralization. Time phase studies showed that 1,25D3 treatment prior to the onset of mineralization, rather than during mineralization led to accelerated and enhanced mineralization. This is supported by the observation of unaltered stimulation by 1,25D3 even when osteoblasts were devitalized just prior to onset of mineralization and after 1,25D3 treatment. Gene Chip expression profiling identified the pre-mineralization and mineralization phase as two strongly distinctive transcriptional periods with only 0.6% overlap of genes regulated by 1,25D3. In neither phase 1,25D3 significantly altered expression of extracellular matrix genes. 1,25D3 significantly accelerated the production of mature matrix vesicles (MVs) in the pre-mineralization. Duration rather than timing determined the extent of the 1,25D3 effect. We propose the concept that besides indirect effects via intestinal calcium uptake 1,25D3 directly accelerates osteoblast-mediated mineralization via increased production of mature MVs in the period prior to mineralization. The accelerated deposition of mature MVs leads to an earlier onset and higher rate of mineralization. These effects are independent of changes in extracellular matrix protein composition. These data on 1,25D3, mineralization, and MV biology add new insights into the role of 1,25D3 in bone metabolism and emphasize the importance of MVs in bone and maintaining bone health and strength by optimal mineralization status. J. Cell. Physiol. 225: 593–600, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.