Most patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus are resistant to both endogenous and exogenous insulin. Insulin resistance precedes the onset of this disease, suggesting that it may be an initial abnormality. Insulin-receptor kinase activity is impaired in muscle, fibroblasts and other tissues of many patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, but abnormalities in the insulin-receptor gene do not appear to be the cause of this decreased kinase activity. Skin fibroblasts from certain insulin-resistant patients contain an inhibitor of insulin-receptor tyrosine kinase. Here we show that this inhibitor is a membrane glycoprotein, termed PC-1 (refs 10, 11). We find that PC-1 activity is increased in fibroblasts from seven of nine patients with typical non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. In addition, overexpression of PC-1 in transfected cultured cells reduces insulin-stimulated tyrosine kinase activity. These studies raise the possibility that PC-1 has a role in the insulin resistance of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.