Insulin receptors were detected in a variety of rat neuroblastoma and glioma cell lines. The binding of 125I-insulin to B103 neuroblastoma cells had characteristics typical of insulin receptors in other tissues, including high affinity for insulin, low affinity for insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), and curvilinear Scatchard plots. Using photoaffinity labeling procedures and sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) gel electrophoresis to analyze the subunit structure of insulin receptors in B103 cells, the predominantly labeled protein had an apparent molecular weight of 125K and the mobility of this protein was shifted after removal of sialic acid residues. On the basis of size and susceptibility to neuraminidase, the insulin binding subunit in neuroblastoma cells was identical to the alpha-subunit of insulin receptors in adipocytes and different from the 115K subunit found in brain. The presence of an "adipocyte" form of the insulin receptor in clonal cells derived from brain is probably a consequence of transformation and results from more extensive oligosaccharide processing of the 115K receptor expressed in normal brain cells. The fully glycosylated receptors in neuroblastoma cells were capable of exerting functions typical of insulin receptors in adipocytes such as internalization of insulin and stimulation of glucose transport.