Neurotransmitter release from synaptic vesicles is triggered by voltage–gated calcium influx through P/Q–type or N–type calcium channels. Purification of N–type channels from rat brain synaptosomes initially suggested molecular interactions between calcium channels and two key proteins implicated in exocytosis: synaptotagmin I and syntaxin 1. Co–immunoprecipitation experiments were consistent with the hypothesis that both N– and P/Q–type calcium channels, but not L–type channels, are associated with the 7S complex containing syntaxin 1, SNAP–25, VAMP and synaptotagmin I or II. Immunofluorescence confocal microscopy at the frog neuromuscular junction confirmed that calcium channels, syntaxin 1 and SNAP–25 are co–localized at active zones of the presynaptic plasma membrane where transmitter release occurs. Experiments with recombinant proteins were performed to map synaptic protein interaction sites on the α1A subunit, which forms the pore of the P/Q–type calcium channel. In vitro–translated 35S–synaptotagmin I bound to a site located on the cytoplasmic loop linking homologous domains II and III of the α1A subunit. This direct link would target synaptotagmin, a putative calcium sensor for exocytosis, to a microdomain of calcium influx close to the channel mouth. Cysteine string proteins (CSPs) contain a J–domain characteristic of molecular chaperones that co–operate with Hsp70. They are located on synaptic vesicles and thought to be involved in modulating the acticity of presynaptic calcium channels. CSPs were found to bind to the same domain of the calcium channel as synaptotagmin, and also to associate with VAMP. CSPs may act as molecular chaperones in association with Hsp70 to direct assembly or dissociation of multi–protein complexes at the calcium channel.