We have shown that endogenous activation of type 5 metabotropic glutamate (mGlu5) receptors supports the maintenance of a pluripotent, undifferentiated state in D3 mouse embryonic stem cells cultured in the presence of leukaemia inhibitory factor (LIF). Here, we examined the interaction between LIF and mGlu5 receptors using as a read-out the immediate early gene, c-Myc. The selective mGlu5 receptor antagonist, 2-methyl-6-(phenylenthynyl)pyridine (MPEP; 1 mum), reduced the increase in c-Myc protein levels induced by LIF by enhancing c-Myc ubiquitination. A reduction in c-Myc levels was also observed following small interfering RNA-mediated mGlu5 receptor gene silencing. MPEP reduced glycogen synthase kinase-3beta phosphorylation on Ser9, but increased phosphorylation of the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI-3-K) substrate, AKT. In our hands, activated PI-3-K reduced the stability of c-Myc, because (i) the PI-3-K inhibitor, LY294002, prevented the reduction in c-Myc levels induced by MPEP; and (ii) over-expression of AKT promoted c-Myc ubiquitination. All effects of MPEP were mimicked by protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitors and reversed by the PKC activator, tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate. We conclude that endogenous activation of mGlu5 receptors sustains the increase in c-Myc induced by LIF in embryonic stem cells by inhibiting both glycogen synthase kinase-3beta and PI-3-K, both effects resulting from the activation of PKC.