Insulin receptor substrates-1 (IRS-1) is the major cytoplasmic substrate of the insulin and IGF-1 receptors. Recent studies have identified multiple sequence variants of IRS-1, especially in patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. In the present study, we have examined insulin-stimulated processes in 32D(IR) cells, a myeloid progenitor cell stably overexpressing the insulin receptor, transfected with wild-type human-IRS-1 or the most common human variant of IRS-1 in which glycine 972 is replaced by arginine. As compared to wild-type IRS-1, insulin stimulation of cells transfected with mutant IRS-1 exhibited a 32% decrease in incorporation of [3H]thymidine into DNA (P = 0.002), a 36% decrease in IRS-1 associated phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase activity (P = 0.004) and a 25% decrease in binding of the p85 regulatory subunit of PI 3-kinase to IRS-1 (P = 0.002). There was also a tendency for a decrease in Grb2 binding to IRS-1 and insulin-stimulated mitogen-activated protein kinase activity, however, these were not statistically significant. The changes occurred with no change in insulin receptor or IRS-1 tyrosine phosphorylation. These data indicate that the mutation in codon 972 in IRS-1 impairs insulin-stimulated signaling, especially along the PI 3-kinase pathway, and may contribute to insulin resistance in normal and diabetic populations.