The transcription factor NF-kappaB is a key regulator of cellular activation, proliferation and apoptosis. Defects in the NF-kappaB pathway contribute to a broad array of malignant, neurodegenerative and chronic inflammatory diseases. IKK-dependent IkappaB alpha degradation by the 26S proteasome is a critical NF-kappaB regulatory control point, which is emerging as an important target for drug development. To directly monitor regulation of IKK activation in intact organisms, we engineered an IkappaB alpha-firefly luciferase (IkappaB alpha-FLuc) fusion reporter. In cultured cells and living animals, the reporter provided a continuous, noninvasive readout of the kinetics of ligand-induced IKK activation and the pharmacodynamics of selective inhibitors of both IKK and the 26S proteasome. This IkappaB alpha-FLuc reporter now permits continuous readout of IKK activation in vivo, facilitates development and validation of target-specific therapeutics, and complements conventional NF-kappaB transcriptional reporters for more complete temporal and regional investigations of the NF-kappaB signaling pathway in health and disease.