Protein phosphorylation and dephosphorylation play an important role in neuronal signal transduction. In this study the distribution of calcineurin, a calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein phosphatase, was investigated in the striate cortex of two Old World monkeys, Macaca fascicularis and Papio anubis, using a well-characterized, affinity-purified polyclonal antibody to calcineurin. In order to relate the calcineurin distributions to established cytochemical markers, adjacent sections were processed for the visualization of cytochrome oxidase. The staining patterns obtained from the two species were remarkably similar. The results indicate that (1) monkey striate cortex exhibits strong calcineurinlike immunoreactivity that is present both in the neuropil and in neurons, most of which have characteristics of pyramidal cells; (2) the distribution of calcineurin is laminar specific; and (3) it is complementary to that of cytochrome oxidase activity with respect to both its laminar and its tangential pattern. In sections perpendicular to the cortical lamination calcineurin immunoreactivity is high in layers II and III, reduced in layer IVA, nearly as dense as in supragranular layers in layer IVB, minimal in layer IVC, and again enhanced, but not as much as in supragranular layers, in layers V and VI. In addition to these lamina-specific variations, the density of calcineurin-like immunoreactivity exhibits a periodic modulation along trajectories parallel to the pial surface that is most marked in layer III but also discernable in infragranular layers. Accordingly, in tangential sections through supragranular layers the calcineurin distribution is mosaic-like with patches of high density corresponding to cytochromepoor regions (interblob regions) and zones of low density corresponding to areas of high cytochrome oxidase activity (blobs).