In pancreatic beta-cells, voltage-dependent K(+) (Kv) channels are potential mediators of repolarization, closure of Ca(2+) channels, and limitation of insulin secretion. The specific Kv channels expressed in beta-cells and their contribution to the delayed rectifier current and regulation of insulin secretion in these cells are unclear. High-level protein expression and mRNA transcripts for Kv1.4, 1.6, and 2.1 were detected in rat islets and insulinoma cells. Inhibition of these channels with tetraethylammonium decreased I(DR) by approximately 85% and enhanced glucose-stimulated insulin secretion by 2- to 4-fold. Adenovirus-mediated expression of a C-terminal truncated Kv2.1 subunit, specifically eliminating Kv2 family currents, reduced delayed rectifier currents in these cells by 60-70% and enhanced glucose-stimulated insulin secretion from rat islets by 60%. Expression of a C-terminal truncated Kv1.4 subunit, abolishing Kv1 channel family currents, reduced delayed rectifier currents by approximately 25% and enhanced glucose-stimulated insulin secretion from rat islets by 40%. This study establishes that Kv2 and 1 channel homologs mediate the majority of repolarizing delayed rectifier current in rat beta-cells and that antagonism of Kv2.1 may prove to be a novel glucose-dependent therapeutic treatment for type 2 diabetes.