Complexins constitute a family of four synaptic high-affinity SNARE complex-binding proteins. They positively regulate a late, post-priming step in Ca2+-triggered synchronous neurotransmitter release, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are unclear. We show here that SNARE complex binding of complexin I (CplxI) via its central alpha-helix is necessary but, unexpectedly, not sufficient for its key function in promoting neurotransmitter release. An accessory alpha-helix on the N-terminal side of the SNARE complex-binding region has an inhibitory effect on fast synaptic exocytosis, whereas sequences N-terminally adjacent to this helix facilitate Ca2+-triggered release even in the absence of the Ca2+ sensor synaptotagmin-1. Our results indicate that distinct functional domains of CplxI differentially regulate synaptic exocytosis and that, through the interplay between these domains, CplxI carries out a crucial role in fine-tuning Ca2+-triggered fast neurotransmitter release.