Stimulation of neurotransmitter release by alpha-latrotoxin requires its binding to the calcium-independent receptor of alpha-latrotoxin (CIRL), an orphan neuronal G protein-coupled receptor. CIRL consists of two noncovalently bound subunits, p85, a heptahelical integral membrane protein, and p120, a large extracellular polypeptide with domains homologous to lectin, olfactomedin, mucin, the secretin receptor family, and a novel structural motif common for large orphan G protein-coupled receptors. The analysis of CIRL deletion mutants indicates that the high affinity alpha-latrotoxin-binding site is located within residues 467-891, which comprise the first transmembrane segment of p85 and the C-terminal half of p120. The N-terminal lectin, olfactomedin, and mucin domains of p120 are not required for the interaction with alpha-latrotoxin. Soluble p120 and all its fragments, which include the 467-770 residues, bind alpha-latrotoxin with low affinity suggesting the importance of membrane-embedded p85 for the stabilization of the complex of the toxin with p120. Two COOH-terminal deletion mutants of CIRL, one with the truncated cytoplasmic domain and the other with only one transmembrane segment left of seven, supported both alpha-latrotoxin-induced calcium uptake in HEK293 cells and alpha-latrotoxin-stimulated secretion when expressed in chromaffin cells, although with a different dose dependence than wild-type CIRL and its N-terminal deletion mutant. Thus the signaling domains of CIRL are not critically important for the stimulation of exocytosis in intact chromaffin cells by alpha-latrotoxin.