Adiponectin is an anti-diabetic adipokine. Its receptors possess a seven-transmembrane topology with the amino terminus located intracellularly, which is the opposite of G-protein-coupled receptors. Here we provide evidence that adiponectin induces extracellular Ca(2+) influx by adiponectin receptor 1 (AdipoR1), which was necessary for subsequent activation of Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinase beta (CaMKKbeta), AMPK and SIRT1, increased expression and decreased acetylation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator-1alpha (PGC-1alpha), and increased mitochondria in myocytes. Moreover, muscle-specific disruption of AdipoR1 suppressed the adiponectin-mediated increase in intracellular Ca(2+) concentration, and decreased the activation of CaMKK, AMPK and SIRT1 by adiponectin. Suppression of AdipoR1 also resulted in decreased PGC-1alpha expression and deacetylation, decreased mitochondrial content and enzymes, decreased oxidative type I myofibres, and decreased oxidative stress-detoxifying enzymes in skeletal muscle, which were associated with insulin resistance and decreased exercise endurance. Decreased levels of adiponectin and AdipoR1 in obesity may have causal roles in mitochondrial dysfunction and insulin resistance seen in diabetes.