Insulin rapidly and completely inhibits expression of the hepatic insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 (IGFBP1), phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK) and glucose-6-phosphatase (G6Pase) genes. This inhibition is mediated through a phosphatidyl inositol 3-kinase-dependent regulation of a DNA element, termed the thymine-rich insulin response element, found within the promoters of each of these genes. This has led to the conclusion that these three promoters are regulated by insulin using the same molecular mechanism. However, we recently found that the regulation of the IGFBP1 but not the PEPCK or G6Pase genes by insulin was sensitive to rapamycin, an inhibitor of mTOR. Here, we present further evidence that different regulatory pathways mediate the insulin regulation of these promoters. Importantly, we identify a protein phosphatase activity in the pathway connecting mTOR to the IGFBP-1 promoter. These data have major implications for the development of molecular therapeutics for the treatment of insulin-resistant states such as diabetes and hypertension. (C) 2003 Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies.