Isolated rat hepatocytes were incubated in the absence or presence of glucagon and the activity of fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase was measured in cell extracts. After glucagon treatment the Vmax was increased (20-50%) whereas the Km remained unchanged. The stimulation was complete at 5 min after addition of glucagon. The glucagon concentration needed for maximal stimulation was 10(-9) M. After gel filtration the fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase activity in extracts of glucagon-treated cells was lowered to the control level. The effect of glucagon could not be completely mimicked by dibutyryl cAMP. The data indicate that in addition to the possible regulatory role of enzyme phosphorylation, a positive effector is involved in the stimulation of fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase activity by glucagon.