The peroxisome proliferator activated receptor (PPAR) is a member of the steroid hormone receptor superfamily and is activated by a variety of non-genotoxic rodent hepatocarcinogens termed peroxisome proliferators. A key marker of peroxisome proliferator action is the peroxisomal enzyme acyl-CoA oxidase that is elevated about 10-fold in the liver of treated rodents. We have shown previously that a peroxisome proliferator response element (PPRE) is located 570 bp upstream of the rat acyl-CoA oxidase gene and that PPAR binds to it. We show here that the retinoid X receptor (RXR) is required for PPAR to bind to the PPRE and that the RXR ligand, 9-cis retinoic acid, enhances PPAR action. These results therefore suggest that retinoids may modulate the action of peroxisome proliferators.