By carefully permeabilizing eukaryotic cells such that intracellular enzymes are largely retained, an opportunity is created to explore the regulation of in situ flux. This is particularly important since the latter may not be accurately represented by kinetic measurements of isolated, solubilized enzymes from disrupted cells. In this study the action of fructose 2,6-diphosphate (F2,6DP) and other bisphosphorylated sugars which purportedly activate phosphofructokinase-1 (PFK-1: EC 18.104.22.168) were studied. Using porous adipocytes and initiating flux with radiolabeled glucose 6-phosphate, the regulation of lactate production under both 0.1 and 1.0 mM ATP conditions by F2,6DP, glucose 1,6-diphosphate (G1,6DP), ribulose 1,5-diphosphate (R1,5DP), 2.3 diphosphoglycerate (2,3DPG), and mannose 6-phosphate (M6P) was examined. Studied at 1, 5, and 25 μM concentrations, F2,6DP and 2,3DPG significantly (and to the same extent) augmented glycolysis compared to control (at 0.1 mM ATP, the respective glycolytic rates - as % above control - at these three above-mentioned concentrations for F2,6DP were 60, 84, and 77%, whereas for 2,3DPG they were 84, 105, and 179%; at 1 mM ATP, the F2,6DP effect was 88, 99, and 121%, and for 2,3DPG it was 52, 89, and 96%). Stimulation by these compounds was less obvious at higher glycolytic flux rates (saturating amounts of G6P). Amongst this group, and only at 1.0 mM ATP, the sole other positive effector was 25 μM R1,5DP. The measured fat cell content of G1,6DP was 24 ± 4 μM (n = 3); at this concentration no significant effect on glycolysis was observed. Examining the effects of 2,3DPG (25 μM) on proximal glycolysis (to triose phosphates) revealed there was a modest, but significant, 41% increase over basal; in contrast, under the exact same conditions, F2,6DP caused a 123% increase. Separate experiments also examined the effect of F2,6DP, 2,3DPG, and G1,6DP on glycolysis at 5 and 25 μM in the presence of a physiologic cytosolic ATP/ADP ratio and free cation concentrations. Under these conditions, F2,6DP and 2,3DPG remained pre-eminent in their stimulatory prowess, inducing 27-71% increases over control, while G1,6DP remained ineffectual. These studies support a locus of action of 2,3DPG on overall glycolysis which is distal to the triose phosphates. M6P was ineffective at all concentrations. In conclusion, F2,6DP is the pre-eminent in situ regulator of in situ adipocyte glycolysis, especially at higher ATP levels, although other sugars containing two phosphoryl groups may under certain conditions cause activation. © 1992.