Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells stably expressing the human insulin receptor and the rat glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor (CHO/GLPR) were used to study the functional coupling of the GLP-1 receptor with G proteins and to examine the regulation of the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase signaling pathway by GLP-1. We showed that ligand activation of GLP-1 receptor led to increased incorporation of GTP-azidoanilide into Gs alpha, Gq/11 alpha, and Gi1,2 alpha, but not Gi3 alpha. GLP-1 increased p38 MAP kinase activity 2.5- and 2.0-fold over the basal level in both CHO/GLPR cells and rat insulinoma cells (RIN 1046-38), respectively. Moreover, GLP-1 induced phosphorylation of the immediate upstream kinases of p38, MKK3/MKK6, in CHO/GLPR and RIN 1046-38 cells. Ligand-stimulated GLP-1 receptor produced 1.45- and 2.7-fold increases in tyrosine phosphorylation of 42-kDa extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) in CHO/GLPR and RIN 1046-38 cells, respectively. In CHO/GLPR cells, these effects of GLP-1 on the ERK and p38 MAP kinase pathways were inhibited by pretreatment with cholera toxin (CTX), but not with pertussis toxin. The combination of insulin and GLP-1 resulted in an additive response (1.6-fold over insulin alone) that was attenuated by CTX. In contrast, the ability of insulin alone to activate these pathways was insensitive to either toxin. Our study indicates a direct coupling between the GLP-1 receptor and several G proteins, and that CTX-sensitive proteins are required for GLP-1-mediated activation of MAP kinases.