Regulation of the forkhead domain transcription factors by PDGF has not been studied. In this report, we investigated the role of PDGF-induced Akt in regulating forkhead domain protein FKHRL1 in glomerular mesangial cells. PDGF increased phosphorylation of FKHRL1 in a time- and PI 3 kinase-dependent manner. Expression of dominant negative Akt by adenovirus-mediated gene transfer blocked PDGF-induced FKHRL1 phosphorylation. PDGF inhibited transcription of a forkhead DNA binding element-driven reporter gene. This inhibition was mimicked by constitutively active myristoylated Akt. Moreover, FKHR1-mediated transcription of the reporter gene was completely attenuated by both PDGF and Myr-Akt. One of the targets of forkhead transcription factors is the proapoptotic Fas ligand (FasL) gene. PDGF, as well as Myr-Akt, inhibited transcription of FasL. In contrast, inhibition of PI 3 kinase and dominant negative Akt increased FasL gene transcription, suggesting that suppression of PI 3 kinase/Akt signalling may induce apoptosis in mesangial cells via upregulation of FasL expression. However, expression of dominant negative Akt by adenovirus did not induce apoptosis in mesangial cells, suggesting that Akt-independent antiapoptotic mechanisms also exist. Together, our data demonstrate for the first time that PDGF inactivates forkhead domain transcription factor by Akt-dependent phosphorylation and that suppression of Akt signalling is not sufficient to induce apoptosis in mesangial cells.