We have suggested previously that Tribbles homolog 3 (TRIB3), a negative regulator of Akt activity in insulin-sensitive tissues, could mediate glucose-induced insulin resistance in muscle under conditions of chronic hyperglycemia (Liu J, Wu X, Franklin JL, Messina JL, Hill HS, Moellering DR, Walton RG, Martin M, Garvey WT. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 298: E565-E576, 2010). In the current study, we have assessed short-term physiological regulation of TRIB3 in skeletal muscle and adipose tissues by nutrient excess and fasting as well as TRIB3's ability to modulate glucose transport and mitochondrial oxidation. In Sprague-Dawley rats, we found that short-term fasting enhanced insulin sensitivity concomitantly with decrements in TRIB3 mRNA (66%, P < 0.05) and protein (81%, P < 0.05) in muscle and increments in TRIB3 mRNA (96%, P < 0.05) and protein (~10-fold, P < 0.05) in adipose tissue compared with nonfasted controls. On the other hand, rats fed a Western diet for 7 days became insulin resistant concomitantly with increments in TRIB3 mRNA (155%, P < 0.05) and protein (69%, P < 0.0567) in muscle and a decrease in the mRNA(76%, P < 0.05) and protein (70%, P < 0.05) in adipose. In glucose transport and mitochondria oxidation studies using skeletal muscle cells, we found that stable TRIB3 overexpression impaired insulinstimulated glucose uptake without affecting basal glucose transport and increased both basal glucose oxidation and the maximal uncoupled oxygen consumption rate. With stable knockdown of TRIB3, basal and insulin-stimulated glucose transport rates were increased, whereas basal glucose oxidation and the maximal uncoupled oxygen consumption rate were decreased. In conclusion, TRIB3 impacts glucose uptake and oxidation oppositely in muscle and fat according to levels of nutrient availability. The above data for the first time implicate TRIB3 as a potent physiological regulator of insulin sensitivity and mitochondrial glucose oxidation under conditions of nutrient deprivation and excess.