The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma) is abundantly expressed in adipocytes, and plays an important role in adipocyte differentiation and fat accretion. It is a heterodimeric partner of the retinoid X receptors alpha, beta and gamma, which are also expressed in the adipose tissue. As lethality of PPARgamma(-/-) and RXRalpha(-/-) mouse fetuses precluded the analysis of PPARgamma and RXRalpha functions in mature adipocytes, we generated RXRalpha(ad-/-) and PPARgamma(ad-/-) mice, in which RXRalpha and PPARgamma are selectively ablated in adult adipocytes, respectively. Even though the adiposity of RXRalpha(ad-/-) mice is similar to that of control mice when fed a regular diet, they are resistant to chemically and dietary-induced obesity. However, mature adipocytes lacking either both RXRalpha and RXRgamma or PPARgamma die, and are replaced by newly formed adipocytes. Thus, in adipocytes, RXRalpha is essential for lipogenesis, but RXRgamma can functionally replace RXRalpha for the adipocyte vital functions exerted by PPARgamma/RXR heterodimers.