Insulin receptor substrates (IRS)-5 and -6 are two recently identified members of the IRS family. We investigated their roles as insulin receptor substrates and compared them with Src-homology-2-containing (Shc) protein, a well-established substrate. Bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET) experiments showed no interaction between the receptor and IRS-5, while interaction with IRS-6 was not enhanced by insulin. By contrast, Shc showed an insulin-induced BRET response, as did a truncated form of IRS-1 (1-262). While Shc was heavily phosphorylated after stimulation of the insulin receptor, IRS-5 and -6 showed very weak phosphorylation levels. These results suggest that, although these two adaptors have previously been proposed as substrates for the insulin receptor, they are poor substrates for the insulin receptor. This calls into question their relevance to insulin signalling.