Neuronal calcium sensor-1 (NCS-1) is a Ca2+ binding protein that has been implicated in the regulation of neurotransmission and synaptogenesis. In this study we investigated the developmental expression and localization of NCS-1 in the chick retina. Single- and double-labeling experiments with three-dimensional reconstruction as well as ultrastructural data of the distribution of NCS-1 suggest that this protein is also involved in axonal process outgrowth. We found an early expression of NCS-1 in ganglion cells and their axons, in amacrine, and in horizontal cells, whereas photoreceptors were immunonegative at embryonic stages. In the early posthatching days we found strong immunostaining for NCS-1 in horizontal cells and their processes in the outer plexiform layer. In contrast, synaptic vesicle protein 2 (SV2) was prominent only in photoreceptor synaptic terminals. Ultrastructural analysis confirmed that NCS-1 was localized postsynaptically in horizontal cell processes, whereas presynaptic terminals were immunonegative. However, at late posthatching days we observed that photoreceptor ribbon synapses (from rods and/or cones) also expressed NCS-1. Thus the results support the notion that NCS-1 is involved in neuronal process outgrowth and is localized in pre- and postsynaptic compartments including mature photoreceptor synapses. J. Comp. Neurol. 449:231–240, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.