alpha-Latrotoxin, a black widow spider neurotoxin, can bind to high affinity receptors on the presynaptic plasma membrane and stimulate massive neurotransmitter release in the absence of Ca2+. Neurexins, previously isolated as alpha-latrotoxin receptors, require Ca2+ for their interaction with the toxin and, thus, may not participate in the Ca2+-independent alpha-latrotoxin activity. We now report the isolation of a novel protein that binds alpha-latrotoxin with high affinity in the presence of various divalent cations (Ca2+, Mg2+, Ba2+, and Sr2+) as well as in EDTA. This protein, termed here latrophilin, has been purified from detergent-solubilized bovine brain membranes by affinity chromatography on immobilized alpha-latrotoxin and concentrated on a wheat germ agglutinin affinity column. The single polypeptide chain of latrophilin is N-glycosylated and has an apparent molecular weight of 120,000. Sucrose gradient centrifugations demonstrated that latrophilin and alpha-latrotoxin form a stable equimolar complex. In the presence of the toxin, anti-alpha-latrotoxin antibodies precipitated iodinated latrophilin, whose binding to immobilized toxin was characterized by a dissociation constant of 0.5-0.7 nM. This presumably membrane-bound protein is localized to and differentially distributed among neuronal tissues, with about four times more latrophilin expressed in the cerebral cortex than in the cerebellum; subcellular fractionation showed that the protein is highly enriched in synaptosomal plasma membranes. Our data suggest that latrophilin may represent the Ca2+-independent receptor and/or molecular target for alpha-latrotoxin.