Previous work has suggested a role for phosphatidylinositide 3'-kinase (PI3-kinase) in platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-induced actin reorganization and chemotaxis. In support of this notion, we show in this report that the PI3-kinase inhibitor wortmannin inhibits chemotaxis of PDGF beta-receptor expressing porcine aortic endothelial (PAE/PDGFR-beta) cells. Treatment with wortmannin resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in chemotaxis with an IC50 value of about 15-20 nM. Higher concentrations of wortmannin also reduced basal random migration of transfected cells in the absence of PDGF. We also investigated the role of Rac in PDGF-induced actin reorganization and cell motility. Overexpression of wt Rac in PAE/PDGFR-beta cells led to an increased cell motility and edge ruffling in response to PDGF-BB, compared to control cells. In PAE/PDGFR-beta cells transfected with inducible V12Rac (a constitutively active Rac mutant), membrane ruffling occurred in the absence of PDGF stimulation and was independent of PI3-kinase activity. On the other hand, PAE/PDGFR-beta cells transfected with inducible N17Rac (a dominant negative Rac mutant) failed to show membrane ruffling in response to PDGF stimulation. Together with previous observations, these data indicate that activation of PI3-kinase is crucial for initiation of PDGF-induced cell motility responses and that Rac has a major role downstream of PI3-kinase, in this pathway.