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OUR aim was to visualize the dynamic features of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) activity. In order to do so, we synthesized a new reagent by conjugating a fluoroprobe, 6-acryloyl-2-dimethy-laminonaphthalene (acrylodan), to syntide 2, a specific peptide substrate for CaMKII. In cell-free conditions, the conjugate was found to be an effective indicator of calmodulin activation by Ca2+ and the subsequent activation of CaMKII. The reagent is cell-permeable and can stain living cells when bath-applied. Using this technique we were able to obtain fluorescence images of stained cells and analyse the dynamic features of CaMKII inside the cells by means of image processing. Regional heterogeneity of CaMKII activation in cultured hippocampal neurones was seen following L-glutamate administration.