Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by insulin resistance as well as a progressive deterioration of pancreatic beta-cell mass and function. Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), an incretin hormone secreted by intestinal L cells, is a promising therapeutic agent in the treatment of diabetes. GLP-1 analogs and enhancers constitute a novel class of anti-diabetes medications which address both the insulin secretion defect as well as the decline in beta-cell mass. GLP-1 improves glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, restores glucose competence in glucose-resistant beta-cells, and stimulates insulin gene expression and biosynthesis. Furthermore, GLP-1 acts as a growth factor by promoting beta-cell proliferation, survival and neogenesis. This review focuses on the molecular mechanisms by which GLP-1 signaling induces beta-cell mass expansion.