The microtubule-associated protein MAP2 was studied in the developing cat visual cortex and corpus callosum. Biochemically, no MAP2a was detectable in either structure during the first postnatal month; adult cortex revealed small amounts of MAP2a. MAP2b was abundant in cortical tissue during the first postnatal month and decreased in concentration towards adulthood; it was barely detectable in corpus callosum at all ages. MAP2c was present in cortex and corpus callosum at birth; in cortex it consisted of three proteins of similar molecular weights between 65 and 70 kD. The two larger, phosphorylated forms disappeared after postnatal day 28, the smaller form after day 39. In corpus callosum, MAP2c changed from a phosphorylated to an unphosphorylated variant during the first postnatal month and then disappeared. Immunocytochemical experiments revealed MAP2 in cell bodies and dendrites of neurons in all cortical layers, from birth onwards. In corpus callosum, in the first month after birth, a little MAP2, possibly MAP2c, was detectable in axons. The present data indicate that MAP2 isoforms differ in their cellular distribution, temporal appearance and structural association, and that their composition undergoes profound changes during the period of axonal stabilization and dendritic maturation.