Insulin activates certain protein kinase C (PKC) isoforms that are involved in insulin-induced glucose transport. In this study, we investigated the possibility that activation of PKCdelta by insulin participates in the mediation of insulin effects on glucose transport in skeletal muscle. Studies were performed on primary cultures of rat skeletal myotubes. The role of PKCdelta in insulin-induced glucose uptake was evaluated both by selective pharmacological blockade and by over-expression of wild-type and point-mutated inactive PKCdelta isoforms in skeletal myotubes. We found that insulin induces tyrosine phosphorylation and translocation of PKCdelta to the plasma membrane and increases the activity of this isoform. Insulin-induced effects on translocation and phosphorylation of PKCdelta were blocked by a low concentration of rottlerin, whereas the effects of insulin on other PKC isoforms were not. This selective blockade of PKCdelta by rottlerin also inhibited insulin-induced translocation of glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4), but not glucose transporter 3 (GLUT3), and significantly reduced the stimulation of glucose uptake by insulin. When overexpressed in skeletal muscle, PKCdelta and PKCdelta were both active. Overexpression of PKCdelta induced the translocation of GLUT4 to the plasma membrane and increased basal glucose uptake to levels attained by insulin. Moreover, insulin did not increase glucose uptake further in cells overexpressing PKCdelta. Overexpression of PKCdelta did not affect basal glucose uptake or GLUT4 location. Stimulation of glucose uptake by insulin in cells overexpressing PKCdelta was similar to that in untransfected cells. Transfection of skeletal myotubes with dominant negative mutant PKCdelta did not alter basal glucose uptake but blocked insulin-induced GLUT4 translocation and glucose transport. These results demonstrate that insulin activates PKCdelta and that activated PKCdelta is a major signaling molecule in insulin-induced glucose transport.