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Retinoid X receptor alpha (RXRalpha) is involved in multiple signaling pathways, as a heterodimeric partner of several nuclear receptors. To investigate its function in energy homeostasis, we have selectively ablated the RXRalpha gene in adipocytes of 4-week-old transgenic mice by using the tamoxifen-inducible Cre-ERT2 recombination system. Mice lacking RXRalpha in adipocytes were resistant to dietary and chemically induced obesity and impaired in fasting-induced lipolysis. Our results also indicate that RXRalpha is involved in adipocyte differentiation. Thus, our data demonstrate the feasibility of adipocyte-selective temporally controlled gene engineering and reveal a central role of RXRalpha in adipogenesis, probably as a heterodimeric partner for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma.