We investigated the effects of vitamin A (VA) nutritional status on the levels of expression of retinoic acid (RA) receptor-beta (RARbeta) gene in the various tissues of Japanese quail. VA deficiency caused a significant decrease in the mRNA levels of brain, liver, heart, lung and kidney RARbeta2/beta4, whereas no change was observed in the level of testis RARbeta2 transcript. In contrast, reduction in the RARbeta1 transcript caused by VA depletion was observed only in the lung, remaining unchanged in the other tissues. The administration of RA to the VA-deficient quail rapidly induced the expression of RARbeta2/beta4 mRNAs in all the tissues examined, but RA increased the expression of RARbeta1 transcript in the liver, heart, lung and kidney at a lower magnitude. RA could not change the expression of the brain RARbeta1 transcript, while it induced the expression of the testis RARbeta1 mRNA in a temporal way. These results clearly indicate that VA nutritional status differently regulates the expression of RARbeta1 and RARbeta2/beta4 transcripts in a tissue-specific manner.