Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) promotes the proliferation of adult myoblasts and inhibits their differentiation, whereas insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) enhances both processes. Recent studies indicate that activation of the phosphoinositide 3′-kinase (PI3K) pathway promotes myoblast differentiation, whereas activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (MAPK/ERK) promotes proliferation and inhibits their differentiation. This simple model is confounded by the fact that both HGF and IGF-I have been shown to activate both pathways. In this study, we have compared the ability of HGF and IGF-I to activate PI3K and MAPK/ERK in i28 myogenic cells. We find that, although the two stimuli result in comparable recruitment of the p85α subunit of PI3K into complexes with tyrosine-phosphorylated proteins, the p85β regulatory subunit and p110α catalytic subunit of PI3K are preferentially recruited into these complexes in response to IGF-I. In agreement with this observation, IGF-I is much more potent than HGF in stimulating phosphorylation of Akt/PKB, a protein kinase downstream of PI3K. In contrast, MAPK/ERK phosphorylation was higher in response to HGF and lasted longer, relative to IGF-I. Moreover, the specific PI3K inhibitor, Wortmannin, abolished MAPK/ERK and Elk-1 phosphorylation in HGF-treated cells, suggesting the requirement of PI3K in mediating the HGF-induced MAPK pathway. UO126, a specific MAPK pathway inhibitor, had no effect on PI3K activity or Akt phosphorylation, implying that at least in muscle cells, the MAPK/ERK pathway is not required for HGF-induced PI3K activation. These results provide a biochemical rationale for the previous observations that HGF and IGF-I have opposite effects on myogenic cells, consistent with studies linking PI3K activation to differentiation and MAPK/ERK activation to proliferation in these cells. Moreover, the finding that PI3K activity is required for HGF-induced MAPK activation suggests its additional role in proliferation, rather than exclusively in the differentiation of adult myoblasts.