The effects of nutrients and hormones on transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of fatty acid synthase in rat liver were investigated following cDNA cloning. When fasted rats were fed a carbohydrate/protein diet, the transcriptional rate was greatly increased even in 1 h. The transcriptional rate, mRNA concentration and enzyme induction reached maximum levels in 4 h, 8–16 h and 48 h, respectively. Although dietary carbohydrate increased each level more than protein did, both carbohydrate and protein were required to reach a high level. Corn oil feeding markedly decreased the transcriptional rate. In diabetic rats, the transcriptional rate, mRNA concentration and enzyme induction were very low in comparison with the normal. By treating the diabetic rats with insulin, however, the transcriptional rate was increased 5-fold in 1 h and 15-fold in 6 h, preceding a great increase in the mRNA and enzyme levels. On the other hand, fructose feeding or triiodothyronine treatment of diabetic rats abundantly increased the mRNA concentration and somewhat increased the transcriptional rate. Thus, it is suggested that insulin mainly stimulates the transcription of the fatty acid synthase gene, whereas triiodothyronine and fructose mainly increase the mRNA stability.