Synaptotagmin I, a synaptic vesicle protein required for efficient synaptic transmission, contains a highly conserved polylysine motif necessary for function. Using Drosophila, we examined in which step of the synaptic vesicle cycle this motif functions. Polylysine motif mutants exhibited an apparent decreased Ca2+ affinity of release, and, at low Ca2+, an increased failure rate, increased facilitation, and increased augmentation, indicative of a decreased release probability. Disruption of Ca2+ binding, however, cannot account for all of the deficits in the mutants; rather, the decreased release probability is probably due to a disruption in the coupling of synaptotagmin to the release machinery. Mutants exhibited a major slowing of recovery from synaptic depression, which suggests that membrane trafficking before fusion is disrupted. The disrupted process is not endocytosis because the rate of FM 1-43 uptake was unchanged in the mutants, and the polylysine motif mutant synaptotagmin was able to rescue the synaptic vesicle depletion normally found in syt(null) mutants. Thus, the polylysine motif functions after endocytosis and before fusion. Finally, mutation of the polylysine motif inhibits the Ca2+-independent ability of synaptotagmin to accelerate SNARE (soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor)-mediated fusion. Together, our results demonstrate that the polylysine motif is required for efficient Ca2+-independent docking and/or priming of synaptic vesicles in vivo.