Details of the mechanism for ribosome synthesis have been incorporated in the single-cell Escherichia coli model, which enable us to predict the amount of protein synthesizing machinery under different environmental conditions. The predictions agree quite well with available experimental data. The model predicts that ribosomal protein limitations are important when the translational apparatus is in high demand. Ribosomal RNA synthesis is induced by an increase in translational activity, which, in turn, stimulates ribosomal protein synthesis. However, as the demand increases still more, the ribosomal protein mRNA must compete with the plasmid mRNA for ribosomes, and the efficiency of translation of ribosomal proteins is reduced. © 1994 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.