The type II protein kinase C (PKC-II) densely present in mammalian brain plays functional roles in CNS. We examined the characteristics of [3H]staurosporine binding to PKC-II purified from rat brain, compared to [3H]phorbol 12, 13-dibutyrate (PDBu) binding. In brief, [3H]staurosporine binding increased by phosphatidylserine (PtdSer) in a concentration-dependent manner and the binding was enhanced by Ca2+ and phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA). In the presence of Ca2+, PMA and PtdSer, Bmax of these bindings markedly increased, but KD did not change. These characteristics of binding were similar to [3H]PDBu binding to PKC-II. Although [3H]PDBu binding was not affected by protein kinase inhibitors such as staurosporine, H-7, K-252a and K-252b, [3H]staurosporine binding was inhibited by these inhibitors. [3H]staurosporine binding was inhibited by several ATP analogues, but was not by guanine nucleotides. PtdSer-induced increase in [3H]PDBu binding was inhibited by Zn2+, but Zn2+ induced increase in [3H]staurosporine binding as well as PtdSer and/or Ca2+. Staurosporine would thus appear to bind to a domain different from phorbol ester-binding one in PKC, interactions between both domains may regulate kinase activity, and 1 mol staurosporine and 4 mol phorbol ester may bind to 1 mol PKC-II.