We evaluated the role of the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC-4R) in the control of metabolic rate and food intake in mice. Intraperitoneal administration of the non-selective MC-R agonist melanotan II (MT-II; a cyclic heptapeptide) increases metabolic rate in wildtype mice, while MC-4R knockout mice are insensitive to the effects of MT-II on metabolic rate. MC-4R knockout mice are also insensitive to the effects of MT-II on reducing food intake. We conclude that MC-4R can mediate control of both metabolic rate and food intake in mice. We infer that a role for MC-3R in mediating the acute effects of MT-II on basal metabolic rate and food intake in wildtype mice seems limited.