Synaptotagmins contain tandem C2 domains and function as Ca(2+) sensors for vesicle exocytosis but the mechanism for coupling Ca(2+) rises to membrane fusion remains undefined. Synaptotagmins bind SNAREs, essential components of the membrane fusion machinery, but the role of these interactions in Ca(2+)-triggered vesicle exocytosis has not been directly assessed. We identified sites on synaptotagmin-1 that mediate Ca(2+)-dependent SNAP25 binding by zero-length cross-linking. Mutation of these sites in C2A and C2B eliminated Ca(2+)-dependent synaptotagmin-1 binding to SNAREs without affecting Ca(2+)-dependent membrane binding. The mutants failed to confer Ca(2+) regulation on SNARE-dependent liposome fusion and failed to restore Ca(2+)-triggered vesicle exocytosis in synaptotagmin-deficient PC12 cells. The results provide direct evidence that Ca(2+)-dependent SNARE binding by synaptotagmin is essential for Ca(2+)-triggered vesicle exocytosis and that Ca(2+)-dependent membrane binding by itself is insufficient to trigger fusion. A structure-based model of the SNARE-binding surface of C2A provided a new view of how Ca(2+)-dependent SNARE and membrane binding occur simultaneously.