A monoclonal antibody (mAb SP-1) labels subplate neurons of the cat visual cortex but does not stain the remnants of the subplate neuronal population that comprise the interstitial cells of adult cortical white matter. mAb SP-1 was shown previously to recognize a cytosolic polypeptide of 56 kDa (Naegele et al., 1991). We have now characterized the distribution of SP-1 immunoreactive neurons in the visual cortex and carried out additional biochemical studies at a range of postnatal ages in various tissues. Brain, liver and serum were found to contain the previously identified 56 kDa polypeptide. This polypeptide was also recognized by a cat immunoglobulin antiserum. The epitope recognized by mAb SP-1 was present on cat IgG Fc fragment but not cat IgG Fab fragment. By 4 weeks postnatal, levels of the 56 kDa antigen decreased in cortex and an additional higher molecular weight SP-1 reactive polypeptide of 75 kDa was detected. In the mature cortex, both polypeptides were absent from cytosolic fractions. Immunocytochemical staining comparing the distributions of SP-1 (SP-1+) and anti-IgG (lg+) immunoreactive neurons showed complete colocalization in subplate neurons beneath primary visual cortex. By 4 weeks, some pyramidal neurons in cortical areas 17 and 18 were weakly positive for SP-1 but negative for IgG. At subsequent ages, the immunoreactive staining became progressively fainter until it was no longer detectable in white or gray matter of adult cat visual cortex.