Changes in CrkII and CrkL phosphorylation are associated with insulin-like growth factor receptor activation in cultured cells. We examined whether similar changes also occur following administration of recombinant human insulin-like growth factor-I to the intact animal. In female rats starved overnight, CrkL phosphorylation was significantly increased 12 min after insulin-like growth factor-I administration. Tyrosine phosphorylation of CrkII was not detectable in either control or treated animals. Paxillin, a 65-70-kDa phosphoprotein containing high affinity binding sites common for the Src homology 2 (SH2) domains of CrkII and CrkL, was observed in both CrkII and CrkL immunoprecipitates. Insulin-like growth factor-I treatment stimulated the association of CrkII with paxillin. In contrast, the same treatment resulted in the dissociation of the CrkL-paxillin complex. Similar effects of insulin-like growth factor-I treatment on the association of CrkL with tyrosine phosphorylated paxillin were observed in fibroblasts overexpressing CrkL. This study demonstrates that the activation of the insulin-like growth factor-I receptor induces changes in the tyrosine phosphorylation and protein-protein interactions of the Crk proteins in vivo. The different responses of CrkL and CrkII to insulin-like growth factor-I receptor activation suggest distinct roles for these two adapter proteins in signal transduction.