Replicative cell division is an energetically demanding process that can be executed only if cells have sufficient metabolic resources to support a doubling of cell mass. Here we show that proliferating mammalian cells have a cell-cycle checkpoint that responds to glucose availability. The glucose-dependent checkpoint occurs at the G(1)/S boundary and is regulated by AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). This cell-cycle arrest occurs despite continued amino acid availability and active mTOR. AMPK activation induces phosphorylation of p53 on serine 15, and this phosphorylation is required to initiate AMPK-dependent cell-cycle arrest. AMPK-induced p53 activation promotes cellular survival in response to glucose deprivation, and cells that have undergone a p53-dependent metabolic arrest can rapidly reenter the cell cycle upon glucose restoration. However, persistent activation of AMPK leads to accelerated p53-dependent cellular senescence. Thus, AMPK is a cell-intrinsic regulator of the cell cycle that coordinates cellular proliferation with carbon source availability.