SNARE proteins (soluble NSF-attachment protein receptors) are thought to be central components of the exocytotic mechanism in neurosecretory cells, but their precise function remained unclear. Here, we show that each of the vesicle-associated SNARE proteins (v-SNARE) of a chromaffin granule, synaptobrevin II or cellubrevin, is sufficient to support Ca(2+)-dependent exocytosis and to establish a pool of primed, readily releasable vesicles. In the absence of both proteins, secretion is abolished, without affecting biogenesis or docking of granules indicating that v-SNAREs are absolutely required for granule exocytosis. We find that synaptobrevin II and cellubrevin differentially control the pool of readily releasable vesicles and show that the v-SNARE's amino terminus regulates the vesicle's primed state. We demonstrate that dynamics of fusion pore dilation are regulated by v-SNAREs, indicating their action throughout exocytosis from priming to fusion of vesicles.