Insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1) is pivotal in mediating the actions of insulin and growth factors in most tissues of the body, but its role in insulin-producing beta islet cells is unclear. Freshly isolated islets from IRS-1 knockout mice and SV40-transformed IRS-1-deficient beta-cell lines exhibit marked insulin secretory defects in response to glucose and arginine. Furthermore, insulin expression is reduced by about 2-fold in the IRS-1-null islets and beta-cell lines, and this defect can be partially restored by transfecting the cells with IRS-1. These data provide evidence for an important role of IRS-1 in islet function and provide a novel functional link between the insulin signaling and insulin secretion pathways. This article may have been published online in advance of the print edition. The date of publication is available from the JCI website, http://www.jci.org.