The fixation of atmospheric nitrogen by the prokaryotic enzyme nitrogenase is an energy- expensive process and consequently it is tightly regulated at a variety of levels. In many diazotrophs this includes post-translational regulation of the enzyme's activity, which has been reported in both bacteria and archaea. The best understood response is the short-term inactivation of nitrogenase in response to a transient rise in ammonium levels in the environment. A number of proteobacteria species effect this regulation through reversible ADP-ribosylation of the enzyme, but other prokaryotes have evolved different mechanisms. Here we review current knowledge of post-translational control of nitrogenase and show that, for the response to ammonium, the P(II) signal transduction proteins act as key players.