Protein synthesis (as a percent of the protein pool synthesized per day) has been measured in liver and small intestine of young male rats from the incorporation of 100 mumol [1-14C]leucine/100 g body wt into protein over 10 min. Dietary protein deprivation for 8 days depressed protein synthesis in liver (30%), jejunal mucosa (20%), and jejunal serosa (25%). In serosa, reduced levels of RNA relative to protein could account for altered synthesis; in liver and mucosa, the amount of protein synthesized per unit RNA was reduced. In liver of streptozotocin-diabetic rats protein synthesis was depressed 45%, whereas it was maintained in jejunal mucosa and serosa. Depressed synthesis in liver was accompanied by both a loss of RNA relative to protein and a reduction in the protein synthesized per RNA.