Protein tyrosine kinase (PTK) blockers which competitively inhibit the kinase activity of insulin receptors were synthesized and their properties examined. The best insulin receptor kinase (IRK) inhibitors possess either one hydroxyphenyl ring and two carboxyl groups or two phenyl rings and one carboxyl group. All the inhibitors, except tBoc-tyrosine aminomalonate, effectively block the IRK-catalyzed phosphorylation of exogenous substrate, but only partially block receptor autophosphorylation. These PTK blockers inhibit the insulin induced [14C]glucose assimilation into lipids (lipogenesis), but fail to inhibit the anti-lipolytic effect of the hormone. Only tBocTyr-aminomalonate was found to inhibit all the effects of insulin measured: insulin-stimulated phosphorylation of exogenous substrate, IRK autophosphorylation, insulin-dependent lipogenesis and the insulin-dependent anti-lipolytic effect. This inhibitor is the first blocker which is reported to block insulin-dependent anti-lipolysis. The inhibitors examined are devoid of general adverse effects since they have no effect on insulin-independent lipolysis, on [U14C]fructose assimilation or on (-)isoproterenol-stimulated lipolysis. These studies suggest that insulin-dependent lipogenesis and anti-lipolysis may be mediated by two distinguishable signalling pathways. This study also suggests that PTK inhibitors may become useful tools in the investigation of the signalling pathways of PTKs.