Stimulation of the TCR leads to an oscillatory release of free calcium that activates members of the calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) family. The CaMKII molecules have profound and lasting effects on cellular signaling in several cell types, yet the role of CaMKII in T cells is still poorly characterized. In this report we describe a splice variant of CaMKIIbeta, CaMKIIbeta'e, in mouse T cells. We have determined its function, along with that of CaMKIIgamma, by introducing the active and kinase-dead mutants into activated P14 TCR transgenic T cells using retroviral transduction. Active CaMKII enhanced the proliferation and cytotoxic activity of T cells while reducing their IL-2 production. Furthermore, it induced a profound state of unresponsiveness that could be overcome only by prolonged culture in IL-2. These results indicate that members of the CaMKII family play an important role in regulation of CD8 T cell proliferation, cytotoxic effector function, and the response to restimulation.