Glycosylated phosphatidylinositol (gly-Pl) molecules have been implicated as precursors for insulin-sensitive second messengers (1–4) and lipid-anchored membrane proteins (5–9). The relationship between the diverse functions of these lipids and their predicted structural heterogeneity within gly-Pl subtypes was examined in human T lymphocytes. Four subtypes of gly-Pl molecules were identified in T lymphocytes after separation over high-performance thin-layer chromatography by sensitivity to Pl-specific phospholipase C and nitrous acid. Antibody probes of the glycan domain of gly-Pl were developed and used to assess the partial sensitivity of gly-Pl to insulin action. This analysis showed that the effects of insulin are linked to differential utilization of only two of the four gly-Pl subtypes in T lymphocytes. Polar fragments of this reaction were identified in extracellular supernatants from insulin-treated cells. The biological significance of insulin-dependent gly-Pl hydrolysis was demonstrated by insulin and inositol phosphoglycan regulation of glucose metabolism in intact lymphocytes. These results support the hypothesis that multifunctional roles of gly-Pl are served by discrete gly-Pl populations and that metabolites of gly-Pl subsets participate as signaling elements in insulin action.