Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK) catalyzes the first committed step in hepatic gluconeogenesis. Glucagon and glucocorticoids stimulate PEPCK gene transcription, whereas insulin has a dominant inhibitory effect. We have shown that inhibitors of 1-phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI 3-kinase) block this action of insulin, In contrast, three distinct agents, all of which prevent activation of p42/p44 mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase, have no effect on the regulation of PEPCK transcription by insulin. However, a subsequent report has suggested that this pathway is involved in the inhibition of cAMP induced PEPCK gene transcription by insulin, To address these conflicting data, we re-examined the Ras MAP kinase pathway, not only with respect to regulation of PEPCK gene transcription, but also for regulation of PI 3-kinase and p42/p44 MAP kinase, Overexpression of constitutively active Ras (V61) (or Raf-1 (RafCAAX)) partially represses PEPCK transcription in hepatoma cells. However, an inhibitor of MAP kinase kinase blocks this action of RafCAAX but has no effect on regulation of PEPCK gene transcription by insulin. Second, the action of a dominant negative Ras (N17Ras) on PEPCK gene transcription correlates more closely with the inhibition of PI 3-kinase than with the inhibition of p42/p44 MAP kinase. Third, insulin cannot activate p42/p44 MAP kinase in the presence of cAMP even though cAMP-induced PEPCK gene transcription is inhibited by insulin. This data confirms that the Pas MAP kinase pathway is not required for the regulation of PEPCK gene transcription by insulin and demonstrates the importance of employing multiple techniques when investigating the function of signaling pathways.