We previously demonstrated that FSH alone or in combination with IGF-I activated the porcine steroidogenic acute regulatory protein gene promoter in a concerted manner in primary cultures of granulosa cells. Studies were undertaken to further delineate cis- and trans-acting elements of the porcine promoter and mechanisms mediating FSH stimulation and its augmentation by IGF-I. Mutation of several putative regulatory elements localized hormone-stimulated activity to the highly conserved GATA site and identified novel nucleotides downstream as a functional CCAAT/enhancer binding protein (C/EBP)beta site. In granulosa cell nuclear extracts, GATA-4 and C/EBPbeta formed a high-molecular-weight complex with an oligonucleotide spanning -76 to -32 bp of the porcine promoter. The intensity of this high-molecular-weight complex was increased in granulosa cell nuclear extracts by treatment with FSH alone and was enhanced with the combination of FSH and IGF-I at 2-3 h of treatment. GATA-4 and C/EBPbeta proteins were uniformly expressed with all treatments at time points associated with increased DNA binding. Treatment (2 h) with FSH alone or FSH + IGF-I increased phosphorylation of GATA-4 on a protein kinase A consensus site. The 38-kDa isoform of C/EBPbeta exhibited greater phosphorylation with FSH + IGF-I treatment. Porcine luteal cell nuclear extracts also demonstrated GATA-4 and C/EBPbeta binding to the -76 to -32 bp region of the promoter providing evidence for their cooperation in vivo. These data indicate that GATA-4 and C/EBPbeta are both required for FSH +/- IGF-I stimulation of the porcine steroidogenic acute regulatory protein gene promoter in homologous granulosa cell cultures.