The receptors for retinoic acid (RA) and for 1 alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (VD), RAR, RXR, and VDR are ligand-inducible members of the nuclear receptor superfamily. These receptors mediate their regulatory effects by binding as dimeric complexes to response elements located in regulatory regions of hormone target genes. Sequence scanning of the tumor necrosis factor-alpha type 1 receptor (TNF alpha RI) gene identified a 3' enhancer region composed of two directly repeated hexameric core motifs spaced by 2 nucleotides (DR2). On this novel DR2-type sequence, but not on a DR5-type RA response element, VD was shown to act through its receptor, the vitamin D receptor (VDR), as a repressor of retinoid signalling. The repression appears to be mediated by competitive protein-protein interactions between VDR, RAR, RXR, and possibly their cofactors. This VDR-mediated transrepression of retinoid signaling suggests a novel mechanism for the complex regulatory interaction between retinoids and VD.