The alpha-Ca2+/calmodulin kinase II (alpha CaMKII) is required for long-term potentiation in the CA1 region of the hippocampus. Here, we report that this kinase also has a crucial role in presynaptic plasticity. Paired-pulse facilitation is blunted in the CA1 region of mice heterozygous for a targeted mutation of alpha CaMKII, confirming that this kinase can promote neurotransmitter release. Unexpectedly, field and whole-cell recordings of posttetanic potentiation show that the synaptic responses of mutants are larger than those of controls, indicating that alpha CaMKII can also inhibit transmitter release immediately after tetanic stimulation. Thus, alpha CaMKII has the capacity either to potentiate or to depress excitatory synaptic transmission depending on the pattern of presynaptic activation.