o-rab3 is an electric ray homologue of low molecular weight of GTP-binding proteins thought to be involved in targeting of secretory vesicles to sites of exocytosis. The stimulation-dependent association of o-rab3 with synaptic vesicles was compared with that of the membrane-integral synaptic vesicle protein 2 (SV2). On application of immunoelectron microscopy and the colloidal gold technique, antibodies against either protein labeled the synaptic vesicle membrane compartment. Synaptic vesicles recycled under conditions of low frequency stimulation (0.1 Hz) retained their complement of both SV2 and o-rab3. Isolation of synaptic vesicles by density-gradient centrifugation and subsequent column chromatography yielded no indication of a stimulation-dependent release of o-rab3 from synaptic vesicles. In contrast, multivesicular bodies and vacuoles occasionally observed in the nerve terminals contained SV2 but little if any o-rab3. It is concluded that o-rab3 remains associated with the synaptic vesicle membrane compartment during stimulation-induced cycles of repeated exo- and endocytosis. o-rab3 may be lost once the vesicle enters the prelysosomal pathway.