Vitamin A, retinol, circulates in blood bound to retinol-binding protein (RBP4) which, in turn, associates with another serum protein, transthyretin (TTR), to form a ternary retinol-RBP4-TTR complex. At some tissues, retinol-bound (holo-) RBP4 is recognised by a receptor termed stimulated by retinoic acid 6 (STRA6) which transports retinol into cells. This mini-review summarises evidence demonstrating that, in addition to functioning as a retinol transporter, STRA6 is also a signalling receptor which is activated by holo-RBP4. The data show that STRA6-mediated retinol transport induces receptor phosphorylation, in turn activating a Janus kinases2/signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT)3/5 cascade that culminates in induction of STAT target genes. STRA6-mediated retinol transport and cell signalling are inter-dependent, and both functions critically rely on intracellular retinol trafficking and metabolism. Hence, STRA6 couples 'sensing' of vitamin A homeostasis and metabolism to cell signalling, allowing it to control important biological functions. For example, by inducing the expression of the STAT target gene suppressor of cytokine signalling 3, STRA6 potently suppresses insulin responses. These observations provide a rationale for understanding the reports that elevation in serum levels of RBP4, often observed in obese mice and human subjects, causes insulin resistance. The observations indicate that the holo-RBP4 /STRA6 signalling cascade may comprise an important link through which obesity leads to insulin resistance and suggest that the pathway may be a novel target for treatment of metabolic diseases.