Marker molecules to visualize specific subsets of neurons are useful for studying the functional organization of the neocortex. One approach to identify such molecular markers is to examine the differences in molecular properties among morphologically and physiologically distinct neuronal cell types. We used differential display to compare mRNA expression in the anatomically and functionally distinct areas of the adult macaque neocortex. We found that a gene, designated occ1, was preferentially transcribed in the posterior region of the neocortex, especially in area 17. Complete sequence analysis revealed that occ1 encodes a macaque homolog of a secretable protein, TSC-36/follistatin-related protein (FRP). In situ hybridization histochemistry confirmed the characteristic neocortical expression pattern of occ1 and showed that occ1 transcription is high in layers II, III, IVA and IVC of area 17. In addition, occ1 transcription was observed selectively in cells of the magnocellular layers in the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN). Dual labeling immunohistochemistry showed that the occ1-positive neurons in area 17 include both γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-positive aspiny inhibitory cells and the α-subunit of type II calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase (CaMKII α)-positive spiny excitatory cells. With brief periods of monocular deprivation, the occ1 mRNA level decreased markedly in deprived ocular dominance columns of area 17. From this we conclude that the expression of occ1 mRNA is present in a subset of neurons that are preferentially localized in particular laminae of area 17 and consist of various morphological and physiological neuronal types, and, furthermore, occ1 transcription is subject to visually driven activity-dependent regulation.