Interaction of GH with the cell-surface GH receptor (GHR) causes activation of the GHR-associated tyrosine kinase, JAK2, and consequent triggering of signaling cascades including the STAT, Ras/Raf/MEK1/MAP kinase, and insulin receptor substrate-1(IRS-1)/PI3kinase pathways. We previously showed that IRS- and GHR-deficient 32D cells that stably express the rabbit GHR and rat IRS-1 (32D-rbGHR-IRS-1) exhibited markedly enhanced GH-induced proliferation and MAP kinase (ERK1 and ERK2) activation compared with cells expressing only the GHR (32D-rbGHR). We now examine biochemical mechanism(s) by which IRS-1 augments GH-induced MAP kinase activation. Time-course experiments revealed a similarly transient (maximal at 15 min) GH-induced ERK1 and ERK2 activation in both 32D-rbGHR and 32D-rbGHR-IRS-1 cells, but, consistent with our prior findings, substantially greater activation was seen in the IRS-1-containing cells. In both cells, GH-induced MAP kinase activation was markedly blunted by the MEK1 inhibitor, PD98059, but not by the PKC inhibitor, GF109203X. Interestingly, pretreatment with the PI3K inhibitor, wortmannin (EC50 ∼ 10 nM), significantly reduced GH-induced MAP kinase activation in both 32D-rbGHR and 32D-rbGHR-IRS-1 cells. This same pattern in both cells of IRS-1-dependent augmentation and IRS-1-independent wortmannin sensitivity was also observed for GH-induced activation of Akt and MEK1 (using state-specific antibody blotting for both), despite the lack of difference in GHR, JAK2, SHP-2, p85, Akt, Ras, Raf-1, MEK1, ERK1, or ERK2 abundance between the two cells. A different PI3K inhibitor, LY294002 (50 μM), substantially inhibited (roughly 72%) GH-induced MAP kinase activation in 32D-rbGHR-IRS-1 cells, but only marginally (and statistically insignificantly) inhibited GH-induced MAP kinase activation in 32D-rbGHR cells. Because GH-induced Akt activation was completely inhibited in both cells by the same concentration of LY294002, these findings indicate that the wortmannin sensitivity of both the IRS-1-independent and -dependent GH-induced MAP kinase activation may reflect the activity of another wortmannin-sensitive target(s) in addition to PI3K in mediation of GH-induced MAP kinase activation in these cells. Notably, GH-induced STAT5 tyrosine phosphorylation, unlike Akt or MAPK activation, did not differ between the cells. Finally, while GH promoted accumulation of activated Ras in both cells, both basal and GH-induced activated Ras levels were greater in cells expressing IRS-1 than in 32D-rbGHR cells. These data indicate that while GH induces tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT5 and activation of the Ras/Raf/MEK1/MAPK and PI3K pathways, IRS-1 expression augments the latter two more than the former.