Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK) catalyses the reversible decarboxylation of oxaloacetate to yield phosphoenolpyruvate and CO2. The role of the enzyme in gluconeogenesis and anaplerotic reactions in a range of organisms is discussed, along with the important function in C4 and CAM photosynthesis in higher plants. In addition, new data are presented indicating that PEPCK may play a key role in amino acid metabolism. It is proposed that PEPCK is involved in the conversion of the carbon skeleton of asparagine/aspartate (oxaloacetate) to that of glutamate/glutamine (2-oxoglutarate). This metabolism is particularly important in the transport system, seeds and fruits of higher plants.