The most important regulator of insulin expression in islet beta-cells is glucose, which stimulates insulin gene transcription, protein synthesis, and secretion. Glucose-induced insulin gene transcription is regulated by cis-acting elements found within the 5'-flanking region of the insulin gene. We previously demonstrated that the insulin control element (ICE, -100 to -91) and RIPE3b1 (-115 to -107) elements mediated this response in the HIT T-15 beta-cell line. In this study, we examined more closely how these insulin gene control elements regulate glucose-induced transcription. RIPE3b1 element binding was shown to be induced by glucose in both mouse beta TC-6 and beta TC-3 cell lines, although higher glucose concentrations were necessary in the beta-cells (beta TC-6) that responded to physiological glucose concentrations. RIPE3b1 binding was also regulated in glucose-stimulated beta- cells by various effectors of this response. The RIPE3b1 or ICE elements were shown to independently direct glucose-stimulated expression from minimal heterologous promoter constructs. We conclude that the RIPE3b1 and ICE elements are the principal mediators of glucose-stimulated transcription of the insulin gene.