ATF5 is a transcription factor in the cAMP response element (CRE)-binding protein/activating transcription factor (CREB/ATF) family. We studied the effect of amino acid limitation on ATF5 mRNA levels in a mammalian cell line. Northern-blot analysis demonstrated that limitation of a single amino acid, glutamine, methionine, or leucine, resulted in increased ATF5 mRNA levels in HeLaS3 cells. This resulted, at least in part, from increased half-life of the ATF5 mRNA transcript. Cycloheximide inhibited the increase in ATF5 mRNA expression induced by glutamine limitation, indicating that it was dependent on de novo protein synthesis. Moreover, rapamycin had no effect on basal ATF5 mRNA expression or on increased expression induced by glutamine limitation. These results indicate that amino acid limitation regulates ATF5 mRNA expression during post-transcription in a rapamycin-independent manner. The potential role for ATF5 in protecting cells from amino acid-limitation is of considerable interest.