Oligomycin, an inhibitor of ATP synthesis, has been used as a model to study the effects of ATP depletion on macromolecular synthesis and modification of membrane permeability. Protein synthesis is totally blocked by the antibiotic, whereas RNA and DNA synthesis are less inhibited. Different concentrations of monovalent and divalent cations do not revert the inhibition of protein synthesis. Measurement of cellular ATP and 86Rb+ content indicate that the blockade of translation depends on the ATP content. A significant decrease in cellular ATP does not lead to the reduction of monovalent ions in the cell, although hyperpolarization of the cell membrane does take place. An increased membrane permeability to some inhibitors develops when the cells are hyperpolarized by oligomycin.