Drak2 is a serine threonine kinase in the death-associated protein family. In this study, we investigated its role in free fatty acid (FFA)-induced islet apoptosis. Drak2 mRNA and protein were rapidly induced in islet beta-cells after FFA stimulation. Such Drak2 upregulation was accompanied by increased beta-cell apoptosis, which was inhibited by Drak2 knockdown using siRNA. Conversely, transgenic (Tg) Drak2 overexpression led to aggravated beta-cell apoptosis triggered by FFA. Drak2 overexpression in islets compromised the increase of anti-apoptotic factors, such as Bcl-2, Bcl-xL and Flip, upon FFA assault. Further in vivo experiments demonstrated that Drak2 Tg mice presented compromised glucose tolerance in a diet-induced obesity model. Our data show that Drak2 is detrimental to islet survival in the presence of excessive lipid.