The beta1a subunit of the skeletal muscle voltage-gated Ca2+ channel plays a fundamental role in the targeting of the channel to the tubular system as well as in channel function. To determine whether this cytosolic auxiliary subunit is also a regulatory protein of Ca2+ release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum in vivo, we pressure-injected the beta1a subunit into intact adult mouse muscle fibers and recorded, with Fluo-3 AM, the intracellular Ca2+ signal induced by the action potential. We found that the beta1a subunit significantly increased, within minutes, the amplitude of Ca2+ release without major changes in its time course. beta1a subunits with the carboxy-terminus region deleted did not show an effect on Ca2+ release. The possibility that potentiation of Ca2+ release is due to a direct interaction between the beta1a subunit and the ryanodine receptor was ruled out by bilayer experiments of RyR1 single-channel currents and also by Ca2+ flux experiments. Our data suggest that the beta1a subunit is capable of regulating E-C coupling in the short term and that the integrity of the carboxy-terminus region is essential for its modulatory effect.