The skeletal muscle calcium release channel (RYR1) is a Ca(2+)-binding protein that is regulated by another Ca(2+)-binding protein, calmodulin. The functional consequences of calmodulin's interaction with RYR1 are dependent on Ca(2+) concentration. At nanomolar Ca(2+) concentrations, calmodulin is an activator, but at micromolar Ca(2+) concentrations, calmodulin is an inhibitor of RYR1. This raises the question of whether the Ca(2+)-dependent effects of calmodulin on RYR1 function are due to Ca(2+) binding to calmodulin, RYR1, or both. To distinguish the effects of Ca(2+) binding to calmodulin from those of Ca(2+) binding to RYR1, a mutant calmodulin that cannot bind Ca(2+) was used to evaluate the effects of Ca(2+)-free calmodulin on Ca(2+)-bound RYR1. We demonstrate that Ca(2+)-free calmodulin enhances the affinity of RYR1 for Ca(2+) while Ca(2+) binding to calmodulin converts calmodulin from an activator to an inhibitor. Furthermore, Ca(2+) binding to RYR1 enhances its affinity for both Ca(2+)-free and Ca(2+)-bound calmodulin.