The stress response protein regulated in development and DNA damage response 1 (REDD1) has emerged as a key player in the pathogenesis of diabetes. Diabetes upregulates REDD1 in a variety of insulin-sensitive tissues, where the protein acts to inhibit signal transduction downstream of the insulin receptor. REDD1 functions as a cytosolic redox sensor that suppresses Akt/mTORC1 signaling to reduce energy expenditure in response to cellular stress. Whereas a transient increase in REDD1 contributes to an adaptive cellular response, chronically elevated REDD1 levels are implicated in disease progression. Recent studies highlight the remarkable benefits of both whole-body and tissue-specific REDD1 deletion in preclinical models of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In particular, REDD1 is necessary for the development of glucose intolerance and the consequent rise in oxidative stress and inflammation. Herein, we review studies that support a role for chronically elevated REDD1 levels in the development of diabetic complications, reflect on limitations of prior therapeutic approaches targeting REDD1 in patients, and discuss potential opportunities for future interventions to improve the lives of people living with diabetes. This article is part of a series of Perspectives that report on research funded by the American Diabetes Association Pathway to Stop Diabetes program.

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