The receptor protein of alpha-latrotoxin (alpha LTx, a neurotoxin with 'pure' presynaptic action isolated from black widow spider venom), was solubilized by Triton X-100 from bovine brain membranes and purified by affinity chromatography on alpha LTx-Sepharose. The purified receptor preparation contained four major polypeptides of molecular masses 200 (alpha), 160 (alpha'), 79 (beta) and 43 (gamma) kd according to SDS electrophoresis with molecular ratio alpha 1 alpha' 1 beta 2 gamma 2. The alpha- and alpha'-subunits are glycoproteins binding to wheat germ lectin and can be separated under non-denaturing conditions by anion exchange chromatography. Purified to homogeneity, both of them, though differing in the carbohydrate composition, retain the alpha LTx-binding activity and give closely related peptide maps. Anti-alpha antibodies recognize the alpha'-subunit as well. These results suggest that alpha LTx receptor is present in purified preparations in two very close forms containing the alpha- or alpha'-subunit. Beta and gamma proteins do not specifically bind alpha LTx and their physiological role is unclear. They form a complex with solubilized alpha- and alpha'-subunits independently of alpha LTx presence. The receptor proteins were purified to homogeneity by high performance gel filtration in the presence of SDS, their amino acid composition was determined.