We have asked whether loss of the Ca2+ sensor protein synaptotagmin I influences the total amount of neurotransmitter released after a presynaptic action potential. Hippocampal neurons from synaptotagmin I knock-out mice had a greatly reduced fast synchronous component of glutamate release, as reported previously. However, the amount of glutamate released during the slow asynchronous component increased in these knock-out neurons. As a result of these changes in the kinetics of release, there was no significant difference between wild-type and knock-out neurons in the total amount of transmitter released within 400 msec after a presynaptic stimulus. Fluorescence imaging experiments demonstrated that wild-type and knock-out neurons take up and release similar amounts of FM dye after depolarization, indicating normal amounts of synaptic vesicle trafficking in the knock-out neurons. These results indicate that synaptotagmin I knock-out neurons are fully capable of releasing neurotransmitter, with the increased slow component of release serving to compensate for loss of the fast component. Thus, synaptotagmin I synchronizes the rapid release of neurotransmitters after Ca2+ entry into presynaptic terminals and also appears to suppress the slower, asynchronous form of transmitter release.