Cells of Rhodopseudomonas sphaeroides grown under saturating light conditions (30 W/m2) and then shifted to low light intensity (3 W/m2) required 2.5 h to adapt to the new lower light conditions. After the shift, cell growth, whole cell protein accumulation, and bacteriochlorophyll accumulation ceased immediately. Approximately midway into the adaptation period, bacteriochlorophyll synthesis commenced at a new, higher rate, which continued through the beginning of the low-light growth period until new steady-state levels were reached. Immediately after the downshift, the rate of cellular protein synthesis declined to 22% of its preshift rate. Pulse-labeling of protein throughout the adaptation period and comparison with a steady-state prelabel culture revealed that synthesis of two of the three light-harvesting proteins, as well as two additional high-molecular-weight photosynthetic membrane proteins, was derepressed three- to fivefold compared with bulk cellular protein. Finally, the synthesis of at least three soluble proteins showed light-dependent regulation after the light downshift. These results are discussed in terms of the light-dependent regulation of synthesis of the photosynthetic membrane macromolecular components and the division of protein synthesis between the photosynthetic membranes and the soluble cell phase.