In most mammalian cells, insulin and glucocorticoids promote anabolism and catabolism, respectively. Whereas the opposing effects of insulin and glucocorticoids on catabolic gene expression have been explained at the molecular level, comparatively little is known about how these hormones alter anabolic gene expression. These studies identify ATF4 as an anabolic transcription factor that is repressed by glucocorticoids and induced by insulin. Insulin-mediated induction of ATF4 required the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1, was required for the activation of a genetic program for the cellular uptake of essential amino acids and the synthesis of nonessential amino acids and aminoacyl-tRNAs, and was coupled to the repression of Foxo-dependent genes needed for protein and lipid catabolism. These results suggest that ATF4 plays a central role in hormonal regulation of amino acid and protein anabolism by coupling amino acid uptake and synthesis, as well as the generation of charged tRNAs, to mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1-mediated mRNA translation.