The sequential synthesis and deposition of larval cuticular proteins was followed during the final larval molt and the final larval instar of the tobacco hornworm Manduca sexta and correlated with changes in cuticular structure. On the final day of feeding (Day 3) before the onset of metamorphosis many endocuticular proteins were no longer synthesized and new isoelectric variants of 27,000-Da polypeptides were deposited into the cuticle coincident with the formation of lamellae 5- to 10-fold thinner than those previously deposited. Application of a juvenile hormone analog methoprene on Day 1 prevented this change in protein synthesis and in lamellar structure by preventing the observed rise in the intermolt ecdysteroid titer on Day 2. These changes could be induced in vitro by 25-100 ng/ml 20-hydroxyecdysone in the absence of juvenile hormone. Thus, the intermolt change in the lamellar assembly process appears to result from hormone-induced changes in cuticular protein synthesis.