Calmodulin (CaM) regulates tetrameric N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) by binding tightly to the C0 and C1 regions of its NR1 subunit. A crystal structure (2HQW; 1.96 A) of calcium-saturated CaM bound to NR1C1 (peptide spanning 875-898) showed that NR1 S890, whose phosphorylation regulates membrane localization, was solvent protected, whereas the endoplasmic reticulum retention motif was solvent exposed. NR1 F880 filled the CaM C-domain pocket, whereas T886 was closest to the N-domain pocket. This 1-7 pattern was most similar to that in the CaM-MARCKS complex. Comparison of CaM-ligand wrap-around conformations identified a core tetrad of CaM C-domain residues (FLMM(C)) that contacted all ligands consistently. An identical tetrad of N-domain residues (FLMM(N)) made variable sets of contacts with ligands. This CaM-NR1C1 structure provides a foundation for designing mutants to test the role of CaM in NR1 trafficking as well as insights into how the homologous CaM domains have different roles in molecular recognition.