Insulin stimulates transcription and cytoplasmic accumulation of a specific mRNA (termed p33), while inhibiting transcription and accumulation of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK) mRNA in rat H4IIE (H4) hepatoma cells. The present work examines the role of protein synthesis in regulation of these genes by insulin and dexamethasone. Like insulin, cycloheximide and anisomycin, two protein synthesis inhibitors, induced p33 transcription and reduced PEPCK transcription. The combination of either protein synthesis inhibitor and insulin did not induce p33 transcription or inhibit PEPCK transcription beyond that observed with either protein synthesis inhibitor alone. Dexamethasone induced both p33 and PEPCK transcription. The combination of insulin and dexamethasone, or protein synthesis inhibitors and dexamethasone, abolished dexamethasone-induced PEPCK transcription. Thus, protein synthesis inhibitors regulate transcription of the p33 and the PEPCK genes in an insulin-like manner. © 1992.