Phenylalanine in high concentrations inhibits the growth of mouse A9 cells. Protein synthesis is inhibited earlier and more severely than RNA or DNA synthesis. Phenylalanine inhibits the uptake and decreases the intracellular pool of several amino acids. Certain amino acids added in excess reverse the phenylalanine inhibition. The strongest reversing amino acids appear to function by excluding phenylalanine. The phenylalanine inhibition does not appear to be due to a deficiency of any amino acid, but to the high intracellular phenylalanine concentration and/or an amino acid imbalance resulting from the large ratio of phenylalanine to other amino acids.